Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"Sacrifice of Angels"

3 stars

Air date: 11/3/1997
Written by Ira Steven Behr & Hans Beimler
Directed by Allan Kroeker

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"War is such thirsty work. Don't you agree?"
"Perhaps if you didn't talk so much your throat wouldn't get so dry."

— Dukat and Weyoun

Nutshell: Very entertaining ... but also quite contrived. I'm thinking some interesting things will come out of this episode, but I'm also thinking some other things will go unrealized.

"Sacrifice of Angels" is wonderfully entertaining in a vast number of ways, and in a vacuum it would easily be worth three-and-a-half stars in my book. But, as the wrap-up (to a certain extent) of so many issues that this arc has presented, it demands to be scrutinized more heavily than a stand-alone action-adventure outing. To that end, "Sacrifice of Angels" also comes with a few noteworthy disappointments. I definitely enjoyed this episode a great deal, but there was just so much plot and action spinning out of control trying to rectify itself—and, while most of it worked, some aspects centering around the characters were left ambivalent or in some cases even a bit shallow.

This outing is primarily an all-out action-adventure installment. The only problem with all-out action is that the resolution to huge problems holding dire consequences often comes down to the microcosmic actions of a few key people, and those people are usually led around the story by contrived circumstances. "Sacrifice of Angels" is no exception; this is an episode that depends much more on the mechanics of the plot than it does its characters. Now, there's nothing inherently bad about that; in fact, "Sacrifice" manages the plot about as well as I could've expected given how much "Favor the Bold" stacked the cards against the survival of the Federation. But, at the same time, much of this episode is a good example of "comic-book DS9"—lots of fun, action, and heroism, but not as much depth as the situation was capable of.

The plot is a "race against the clock" paradigm. The Federation fleet needs to get some ships to DS9 before Dukat brings down the minefield (which is in a mere matter of hours). But with the Dominion fleet in their path, Starfleet is going to have to punch through the lines with a major fight, taking some serious losses in the process.

First, a few words about the space battle sequences. How should I put it? They weren't simply "awesome," they were "AWESOME!"—absolutely beautiful. You thought the sequences in "The Die Is Cast" were spectacular? And then "Way of the Warrior"? And then "Shattered Mirror"? And then "Call to Arms"? Well, this episode outdoes them all. I don't believe I've ever seen special effects of this caliber on a television production. These sequences are feature-film good. And they aren't simply good in the technical sense—they're also great in the visceral sense, effective at conveying the utter Pandemonium and sense of urgency facing the Defiant's attempts to race through the Dominion's front line. And the Klingons' nicely-timed arrival to the fight—as obvious as "Favor the Bold" set it up to happen—had me cheering. We're talking some serious panache here.

Meanwhile, back station-side, Damar arrests Kira, Jake, and Leeta as a precaution because he suspects Rom didn't act alone in the attempted sabotage. This puts the fate of the Alpha Quadrant in Quark's hands (Quark?); he's the only member of Kira's resistance not sitting in a cell, and someone needs to carry out Kira's last-minute plan of disabling the station's power system so that the dismantling of the minefield will be delayed.

The station-side plot unfolds on relatively simple terms, consisting of a jailbreak, a chase scene, and a race to disable the station before the minefield can be destroyed. There are some good dialog scenes along the way, especially between Weyoun and Dukat as they discuss the policy of ruling their conquered territories. Dukat's attitude that a conquered enemy should admit their being wrong for opposing their conquerors in the first place is particularly appropriate for him.

Quark and Ziyal break their allies out of jail in a scene that strains credulity but is entertaining nonetheless. I liked Quark's clever way of rendering the Cardassian guard unconscious; and I liked even better when he phasered the two Jem'Hadar guards, and especially his silent, stunned reaction to his own action. Scenes like this are good; I've always liked the serious side of Quark, and Armin Shimerman is always interesting to watch in these sorts of binds.

Odo's role in the game takes an expected turn, and if there's one significant weak link in this episode (and thus the whole war arc in retrospect) it's the extreme oversimplification of Odo's betrayal and subsequent redemption. While it's a good thing that "Favor the Bold" last week made it clear Odo was not so completely won over by the Female Founder as "Behind the Lines" had initially indicated, the way events unfold here only serve to make Odo's betrayal feel that much more short-term, contrived, and shallow.

Sure, it's certainly reasonable that Odo being so initially overwhelmed by the Link in "Behind the Lines" could've greatly affected his personality on a "merely temporary" basis. It's not really all that implausible. But to so quickly reverse his direction in life (from following the Link and instead deciding once again to remain with "solids") with a single act of redemption—coming to Kira's rescue in her desperate hour of need—possibly also reverses all the consequences that should've come with his initial betrayal. I'm going to reserve judgment, but Kira should not so easily forgive Odo for what he did; it should take some real time. Unfortunately, by supplying Odo with one, big redeeming action it seems the writers are trying to do just that—which very much strikes me as the Easy Way Out. This is Reset Button Mentality. Frankly, I expected this sort of redemption from the onset of Odo's betrayal. But I just hope Kira and Odo aren't laughing over a morning raktajino in Odo's office next week.

Still, the actors and director did a good job with what they had. There's a striking moment where it seems the Female Founder knows that her mission to bring Odo into the fold has failed. Salome Jens and Rene Auberjonois work wonders with nonverbal subtexts; when she asks Odo if he's sure he wants to remain in his quarters and Odo responds that yes, he's sure, there's something about each character's mannerisms which shows that much more is being asked and answered than what is spoken in dialog. And David Bell's score during this scene is incredibly sinister-sounding. (Bell continues to work wonders in the Trek musical arena, and his score for "Sacrifice" feels larger-scaled than the average episode.)

There are a lot of contrivances that work to resolve the plot. These events are reasonable examples of "suspension of disbelief," although they don't aspire to the greatness that most of this arc has. Take for example (1) The Defiant being the only ship that is able to successfully navigate through the hole in the Dominion lines; (2) the Klingons showing up on the battleground In the Nick of Time; (3) Dukat deciding not to commit any ships in pursuing the Defiant ("The Defiant is no match for the station. If Sisko wants to commit suicide, I say we let him."); (4) the aforementioned Odo coming to Kira's aid when she's locked down under Jem'Hadar fire; and (5) Rom disabling the station weapons, thereby making it a vulnerable target for the Defiant when it arrives. By the way—gaping plot hole of the week: What about all those Dominion ships around the station? It's as if the writers forgot about them. Why didn't they attack the Defiant? And why, especially, did Kira and Rom assume those ships wouldn't detonate the minefield if the station's weapons were off-line?

I did appreciate that Rom's efforts to shut down the weapons came too late (and the destruction of the mines was a spectacular sight). And "Sacrifice" does a good job of building suspense around its contrivances. But, substance-wise, most of the episode comes down to the final two acts, centering around the interesting choices of two characters: Sisko and Dukat.

Sisko and the Defiant arrive at DS9 too late. The minefield is gone and the Dominion reinforcements are waiting on the other side of the wormhole. Sisko's decision is one that can't possibly end in anything but certain death: He takes his ship into the wormhole, planning to fight off as many ships as he can. While in the wormhole, however, he is contacted by the Prophets, who tell him he can't be permitted to die. Sisko tells them they have no right to interfere.

The results of this scene are the most fascinating aspects of "Sacrifice." Through a semi-confrontational dialog with the wormhole aliens, Sisko informs them that he will die for his cause, whether he is the Emissary or not. But when the Prophets continue to resist, he explains himself: He needs a miracle, because Bajor and the Federation are not going to survive without one. Sisko asks the Prophets to stop the Dominion ships. The Prophets finally agree, and make the incoming Dominion ships vanish into oblivion.

Now, my first reaction was that this is deus ex machina taken to the most literal of extremes. But the more I think about it, the more I like it. We knew the Federation was going to survive, yet we also knew the odds were impossible. We knew the Dominion would have to take a major loss. We knew Starfleet would get the station back. So what matters most is the impact this all has on the characters. And within Sisko's negotiation with the Prophets is something that I think shows some real promise, and will come back to haunt the captain at some point down the road. Just before the Prophets send Sisko back to the Defiant, they come to a consensus that Sisko must make penance for going against his own apparent role as Emissary. One says, "The Sisko is of Bajor but he will find no rest there." Another says "His pagh will follow another path." Then they send him back to his ship, without answering him when he asks, "What path is that?"

Sisko's question is not answered here, but it does bring up some fascinating possibilities for the future, especially coming off the heels of Sisko's speech in "Favor" that reemphasized how much Bajor means to him. This is going to have significant personal consequences, without a doubt.

When the Defiant comes out of the wormhole but without a Dominion fleet on its tail, everybody is understandably flabbergasted. While the sudden shift in momentum is decidedly forced and all too abrupt (at this point reports instantly begin coming in that Federation ships have broken through the lines and are headed toward the station), I did find Weyoun's line, "Time to start packing," quite amusing, even if totally silly.

And, ah yes—Dukat. Dukat's descent into madness resulting from victory unfathomably slipping through his fingers is well-conceived. Maybe a tad over the top, but nice nonetheless. Yet, as always, there's more to this guy than meets the eye. The fact that he's determined to find Ziyal before evacuating says something about him. Yes, he loves her, but it also comes back to wanting to see his actions justified and his past forgiven. Doesn't happen here. Damar kills Ziyal when he finds out she was the one who busted Kira & Co. out of jail. Dukat is left broken and destroyed, and the Dominion evacuates the station without him.

A broken and destroyed Dukat. It's poetic justice. A guy who has gone from an administrator to a nobody to a rebel to a warlord now becomes ... nothing. Not dead—but lost, imprisoned, and with a dead daughter who can never forgive him. I'm not sure when we'll see him again or what he'll be doing, but it would definitely be interesting to see. Dukat's life is something of a tragedy. He's a villain, but still a tragic figure, his demise brought on by his own actions.

And then he gives Sisko back his baseball.

With the meaty undertones of Sisko and Dukat's themes, "Sacrifice of Angels" is definitely satisfying in several ways. And as adventure television, the show is often exhilarating. But because of the pervasive contrivances and the way Odo's theme falls so short, I wouldn't say it's truly great DS9—especially considering the strength of all the prior buildup. As far as a rating goes, we'll put it on the high end of the three star range. A must-see for the pure entertainment of it—but not everything it could've and probably should've been.

Next week: A wedding of galactic proportions.

Previous episode: Favor the Bold
Next episode: You Are Cordially Invited

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190 comments on this post

Thu, Jan 10, 2008, 2:46pm (UTC -5)
I take the fact that there were no ships at the station when the Defiant arrives to mean that those ships had gone to the battle. There should have been a clear reference to that at some point in the episode.
Fri, Jun 13, 2008, 8:47pm (UTC -5)
I don't think there's been a battle sequence in Trek that has ever toped this one. It is truly an epic event and you definatly get the feeling that everything has just hit the fan.

Small note. Garek's expression when the Klingons arrive had me in tears of laughter XD
Sun, Dec 21, 2008, 4:08pm (UTC -5)
I agree with Lostmercenary on this - the battles and effects in general on DS9 really did raise the bar for Star Trek in general - from the geeky technical side, I guess it was mainly because they moved away from models and towards CGI (although most of the big fancy explosions still seemed to be practical effects).

But what they really did well was to start using all three dimensions in their battles - the ships duck, weave, loop and swerve. How different from the old TNG days where the Enterprise would sit in front of Alien ship x whilst Worf or Yar said 'shields down in ten percent increments'. Very well choreographed and realised.

Like Jammer I have my reservations about the episode overall - particularly how Dukat descends into madness so quickly, and about Odo's recent character wranglings.
Personally I was never really satisfied with Dukat from this point onward (particularly his Pagh-Wraith arc).
Sat, Jan 31, 2009, 9:01pm (UTC -5)
I really didn't like the "disappearing" Dominion fleet solution to this episode. For one thing, Weyoun and the Founder seemed to take the whole situation pretty much in stride, like they expected this was a possibility. Only Dukat seemed reasonably confused and distressed by that turn of events, but its not even clear from his perspective what in the world has gone wrong. Yet he didn't even question what exactly had gone wrong. I agree with Jammer's first take-- it very deus ex machina.

I think it would have been better if the wormhole aliens had simply agreed to close the wormhole (perhaps expelling the ships to their respective quadrants)instead of seemingly vaporizing thousands of lives with no particular qualms about it.
Sat, Jun 20, 2009, 2:00pm (UTC -5)

The wormhole aliens don't really care about lives. At least not in the way that we do. To them, "time" is an artificial construct, not important at all. And that means that death is not an important event.
Sat, Jul 18, 2009, 1:18am (UTC -5)
Out of all seven episodes in the arc (including "Call to Arms," which may not technically be in the arc), I enjoyed this episode as third-best, behind "Favor the Bold" and "Behind the Lines" (though not necessarily in that order). I probably would've given it a 3.5. I do agree with Jammer on the contrivances ... though I mostly just noted them, as opposed to disliking them. On the subject of contrivances and plot holes though, there's one that really strikes me far above all the others. Once the Defiant arrived to witness the minefield coming down, rather than entering the wormhole on some hopeless offense, why didn't they just destroy the entrance? If I remember correctly, in "The Search, Part II," it was shown that destroying the entrance would be as simple and quick as firing a few torpedos at it. And what significance would permanently closing the wormhole have had in relation to stopping thousands of Dominion reinforcements from coming through?
Thu, Jul 30, 2009, 3:45pm (UTC -5)
Somehow I think it would have been immensely satisfying to see the Jem'Hadar ships rematerialized somewhere else in the galaxy. Perhaps, for instance, in the middle of Borg space. But maybe that would've been a little over the top.

It would've been nice if there was some acknowledgment of what happened by the Dominion... Bajor's gods are certainly more powerful than the Dominion's.
Tue, Sep 1, 2009, 8:12pm (UTC -5)
@Darren- apparently 'changeling Bashir' did something to the polaron stream used to seal the wormhole in season 5 that strengthened it against destruction via torpedo. This was explicitly mentioned.
Wed, Dec 2, 2009, 3:09pm (UTC -5)
I have always felt the miraculous intervention of the Prophets spoiled not only this episode, but to an extent the Dominion War arc as a whole.

In my mind it's too easy an end to what has until now been a nail-biting, gritty, angry war. Does this mean the Prophets can now be asked to delete every hostile alien travelling through the wormhole? Taking the easy answer has never been DS9's style, which is why I have come to love this show so much.

As for Dukat, his descent into madness has been occurring gradually for a few episodes now, although I work in mental health so it was probably more apparent to me.
Tue, Dec 22, 2009, 8:54pm (UTC -5)
What always bothers me about this episode are 2 things.

1) The timely intervention of the Prophets (and let's face it there was no other way out, the writers saw to that). It felt very contrived and convenient, as I have heard used a true "Deus Ex Machina".

2) The way everyone just glosses over Ziyal's death. I personally liked her character (although I am admittedly a romantic) and thought her occasional appearences brought more depth to the show. Not only did her passing deeply sadden me, but it also felt wasted, as events which followed seemed to treat it as if "meh, whatever." Garak didn't seem to show any particular emotion for the one person who thought the world of him. Dukat for all his sadness and distress at her death, seemed to brush it off as soon as the writers were ready for him to become a single-minded bigot in Waltz. His words of "I forgive you" to Sisko were abandoned and forgotten. It felt so pointless. And I'll be touching upon that, most likely again, when I check out the review of Tears of the Prophets...
Sun, Jun 6, 2010, 8:24pm (UTC -5)
I for one love the ending, but I think there was so much juice here (in the war arc in general, but especially the last two episodes) that they could easily have gone on with this arc for half the season, giving us more time to explore such things as Dax's first command in "Behind the Lines", Dukat's too-quick descent into madness and especially Odo's redemption. Still, I'm really glad they went on for as long as they did!
Mon, Jun 7, 2010, 1:35pm (UTC -5)
Though the one thing that does bother me about this episode is the number of ships. It's a small point, but it's completely inconsistent with TNG and previous DS9 eps.

In "The Best of Both Worlds", Starfleet sends 39 ships against the Borg, and loses them all. this is a HUGE blow and Starfleet is shown to be short-handed for at least a year because of this. My assumption at that time was that Starfleet had somewhere between 100-500 ships. Now we learn that there are at least nine fleets of about 300 starships, for a total of almost 3,000 ships. If they had 3,000 ships why would they only have been able to send 39 to fight the Borg? The episode would have been just as exciting if it was 60 ships against 125 Dominion ships. In any case, I'm sure we don't actually see any more than that in the episode.
Sun, Nov 21, 2010, 2:36pm (UTC -5)
@ Hiroshi

I imagine they figured Ziyal had to die to forward Dukat's storyline for the remainder of the series.
Latex Zebra
Wed, Nov 24, 2010, 10:39am (UTC -5)
Nic - Not sure you'll ever see this reply. I always assumed that Starfleet just sent all the close available ships against the Borg and assumed that, tough as they where, that 40 ships would be enough to see them off.
Wed, Nov 24, 2010, 10:21pm (UTC -5)

That just further compounds a reason to dislike how they handled things, really. Because they took all the development Dukat'd made over the years and chucked it out the window so he could be taken over by the "Evil Fire Monster" as Confused Matthew amusingly puts it. Dukat doesn't strike me as so stupid or naive that he'd literally believe it was Sisko who got his daughter killed, especially since this didn't even come up when they were together in the other episode later this season. If her death had led to something better for Dukat.. proper motivation, development, etc.. I wouldn't have minded so much. But it was just a pathetic way to kill her off, and Garet hardly even seemed to care despite their connection. Not unlike how Sisko didn't even SAY anything to Jadzia as she lay dying, despite their deep connection.

@Nic and Latex Zebra

If you think realistically, I'd say that it's kind of like the United States became after the last couple wars. Decreased forces, less vessels, etc. I don't think Starfleet was even truly prepared for a massive war when the Borg came around. They'd been fairly neutral during the Cardassian war with Bajor, had treaties with the Romulans and an alliance with the Klingons. There was no need for a great many ships ready for some war. After the Borg, everyone likely realized just how unprepared they'd all been and started making more warships. There WERE a good number of years between the Borg assault and the Dominion War, as evidenced by Jake's aging over the series. Don't forget each season was really supposed to have been a year.
Fri, Jan 7, 2011, 11:41am (UTC -5)

See, I think that's just silly. The entire Trek universe shouldn't be bound by the effects capabilities of Best of Both Worlds. At the time, 39 ships was a lot to make. And given that the show was just about one ship, moving around the Galaxy, 39 ships seemed like a ton (We never saw more than probably what, 5 in a show on the series otherwise). However, as we saw time and again on DS9 (Think Way of the Warrior, The Die is Cast, and Call to Arms before this) effects technology had come a long way since then. There were easily more than BoBW numbers in each battle, and they looked incredible. Moreover, in DS9 we got a lot more of looking at big picture intergalactic politics. The fates of the entire Federation / Cardasian Empire / Klingon Empire etc. played out on screen, not just whatever sector the Enterprise was in. The huge fleets we see in the whole War Arc are important because they drive home the scale of the conflict: It's a galaxy wide conflagaration with hundreds of planets in jeopardy. A battle of 120 ships vs. 60 for the entire Alpha Quadrant would just feel small. If you have the capability to make the big fleets, use them! Deciding that there can't be a big fleet because of one episode made almost a decade ago is the worst kind of continuity.
Tue, Jan 11, 2011, 9:09am (UTC -5)
I don't care about the DEM--it's TV it's Star Trek, whatever, the plot is only important as a skeleton upon which to excise myth...

That said, the intervention of the WA/prophets served as a jarring and painful reminder of what is wrong with this show. I was really getting into this latest arc. In spite of myself, I was impressed with the writing and the acting and the pacing; the CGI was just icing on the cake. Then we get these disgusting creatures of the wormhole intervening on Sisko's behalf. Whatever the ramifications "might be" (please as if no one could piece together that his stupid speech about a house on Bajor didn't come to mind) to him, everything in his conscience and his training should be utterly horrified by a species which deals out death to tens of thousands of aliens, but shows favouritism to one planet of people, oh but won't actually do anything to prevent them from being raped and tortured for fifty years...

I can accept that these aliens don't concern themselves with our affairs--it's akin to Starfleet's relationship with the prewarp--but to be so damned arbitrary whilst so deadly whilst so specific and demanding that are to be seen as Gods by their own accord is a terrifying notion. And they're the good guys?

Again, it seems like Sisko is more concerned about Bajor than anything else (even his own son?!), yet the brass ignore his near insanity and just keep on promoting him.

At least they didn't wrap up with Jake's stupid article getting published...
Fri, Jan 14, 2011, 10:44pm (UTC -5)
Perhaps it slipped my memory, but what exactly does "DEM" stand for, again?

That aside, it appears to be that you're saying "plot isn't important" or that it's "only partially important", when that couldn't be further from the truth. At the basis of ANY show, should be a good plot or premise, and I do believe DS9 had a good one when it started out.

That said, I do believe the final season (and some of the 6th) was not thought out very well and could have been done a whole lot better. However, lemme see if I can work something out based on what I remember about the episode and the show itself...

The ships the Prophets destroyed, the back-up, coming to help the Dominion/Cardassian forces were enroute via the wormhole, correct? It is the one place we know the prophets have any actual power of manipulation in. Insofar as I can remember, the "Wormhole Aliens" never actually manifested themselves beyond visions outside of it - and keep in mind that's only cause I don't remember them ever doing so - with the sole exception of that episode with the Pagh Wraith taking over Jake and Kira (which felt like a bullshit episode meant to support stuff that'd happen in season 7, although it was performed well)..

Okay, so you're saying that because the Prophets make a fleet _within the wormhole_ vanish, but don't interfere with events outside the wormhole itself, that makes them selfish hypocrites? And that cause this was the only thing Sisko could think of to win, that makes him insane and a bad person? I'm sorry if I'm not following your logic.

Yes, the whole thing was terribly written and the consequences or actions don't really measure up/balance out. But that's not the same thing as calling Sisko insane for trying to help Bajor (which in case you forgot is kind of why he was there to begin with), or saying that cause the Prophets intervened on his behalf _at a time when they actually could_ was irresponsible and thoughtless of him (or them)?

As I said, I'm just not getting where you're coming from on that part.
Mon, Jan 31, 2011, 8:24pm (UTC -5)
Well, having watched the whole arc serveral times now, I just can't escape the fact that this episode was a complete disaster for the writing department. There's a whole *team* of people writing for this show, remember, and they collaborate a *lot* to come up with big arcs like the dominion war that last en entire season or longer.

It's acceptable, barely, to use a deus ex machina to resolve a single-episode storyline, and we have seen this before, at least once. There was that episode when the 'other' emissary arrived from the past, and in the end Sisko could only resolve the issue by going back to the prophets and asking them to specifically say which of them was the 'real' emissary.

As a writer, it's frustrating to have to use a device like the prophets apparently awesome power to resolve a plot. You are admitting that you couldn't think of a better way to end the story. In the emmissary story I mentioned, this is at least a resolution that fits the plot, so it doesn't seem too creatively bankrupt.

And as a writer on a series like Trek, if you establish the existence of a super-power like the prophets right at the start, you are very conscious that you cant just invoke them whenever you like to resolve any story. If Sisko could really just go into the wormhole whenever he liked, come to a full stop, and wait to be taken to the prophet's reality to beg them to do him a favour, then almost every story in the entire series could have been resolved a lot easier. Have they ever denied him when he asked for help?

So, the writing team had a long time to come up with a way of ending the occupation of DS9, and of making sure the jem'hadar reinforcements don't make it through the wormhole.

But if all they could come up with was a 1-minute miracle where the prophets simply 'deleted' the entire dominion fleet just seconds before they entered the alpha quadrant and doomed the entire quadrant to defeat, well, that is just incredibly embarassing for the writers.

In about 5 minutes of thought, I can come up with a few other ways to destroy that fleet without resorting to the prophet miracle. The defiant could have tried to close the wormhole, perhaps using some new type of torpedo that starfleet had been working on in secret to overcome the stability that was added by the fake bashir.

Perhaps they could have invented a new kind of warhead that would ignite some kind of plasma inside the wormhole that would destroy the entire jem-hadar fleet without closing it.

Or, perhaps, the could actually build on the freaking 'white' storyline that they started when the Defiant destroyed the only white depot in the alpha quadrant a few episodes ago. Remember that? The Jem Hadar should have run out within a couple of weeks, remember? But here we are months later, and that whole storyline has just been abandoned, with no explanation at all. Perhaps the Jem'Hadar that are already in the alpha quadrant should be slowly going insane because of the white shortages, with only a tiny number of Jem'hadar on DS9 still having a supply and able to defend the station against the now-crazed rest of the warriors. So, just a the DS9 manages to detonate the mines and open the wormhole, the crazed Jem'Hadar go in themselves to try and get more 'white', and they engage the reinforcements themselves and the two fleets manage to destroy each other almost completely.

That would be kind of cool and would actually tie up the story started weeks ago that went nowhere.

So... I really don't understand what goes on with Braga, Behr, and the rest of the top-level creatives in the Trek franchise. They should be ashamed to have to resort to such a weak solution to the problem of reinforcements coming from the Gamma quadrant. They should be ashamed to have not done anything with the 'white' shortage created a while back.

I've never read any of the supplementary material about DS9 and Trek that reveals some of the writer's thoughts and motivations. Maybe these questions are addressed already. But this episode in particular completely ruined the story for me, the excellence of the previous 5 or 6 episodes (not including Sons and Daughters), and the season as a whole. It was dumb. As soon as I saw the defiant enter the wormhole and stop, I literally groaned with despair. I couldn't *believe* they were going to do this.

Then they did it.
Sat, Feb 5, 2011, 11:11pm (UTC -5)
Masamune said:

""Bajor's gods are certainly more powerful than the Dominion's.""

Yes, and Weyoun witnesses it. Which is why it is baffling when lateron, in Season 7, Weyoun dismisses the Prophets when Damar mentions them in a conversation about the Founders. Yes, Vorta are bred to revere the FOunders, but that surely can't blind him to the Prohpets power when he bore actual witness.
Fri, Feb 25, 2011, 8:16am (UTC -5)
I know fans like to blame Braga for everything they dislike in Trek, but remember he didn't work on DS9. So he had no say in how this arc would end.

Even though Sisko's role as Emissary ended up being kind of a letdown in "What You Leave Behind", I don't think it takes away from this episode. The Prophets interfered because they NEEDED Sisko for another task and couldn't let him die right there and then. He made it clear that the only way to do that was to destroy the fleet, so they did.
Fri, Feb 25, 2011, 5:10pm (UTC -5)
@Nic - Yeah, I didn't really mean to mention Braga at all, it's just that since Enterprise I automatically think of him whenever I see something in Trek I don't like.

What you are saying is that the prophets interefered this time because Sisko was needed alive for their future projects and by the time he spoke to them, the only way to keep him alive was to obliterate the incoming fleet.

I don't buy it. They could have just magically transported Sisko onto the planet Bajor instead, and let the fleet come through and wipe out the defiant on the way through.

If the prophets realised that letting the Dominion fleet come in would lead to them taking control of the entire alpha quadrant, and *that* was incompatible with their long-term goals that Sisko is involved in, then why didn't they interfere a hell of a lot sooner?

The prophets can see all possible futures anyway, so they should have known full well that the Dominion reinforcement fleet will never be allowed to enter the Alpha Quadrant. Surely then they would have simply not allowed any Dominion ships to enter the Alpha quadrant at all... ever.

All of this just leads to a very deep rabbit hole that can't easily be closed. It's far better to not let the story get to the point where huge arbitrary interference is needed by these 'Gods' in the first place. As I said in my previous post, the writers should have been able to think of an 'organic' storyline that stopped the Dominion reinforcements from entering the quadrant, and the prophets should stay as a god-like force that nevertheless does not interfere directly in the wars of mere mortals.
Dave F
Sat, Apr 16, 2011, 3:06pm (UTC -5)
I just watched this episode today and the war-arc recently. I never knew how to rate this episode because I had such mixed feelings about it. First, the technical aspects were AMAZING. The space battles were phenomenal. The Klingons coming at the nick of time, while a plot contrivance, I loved. It had me cheering, because it was just awesome (After TOS, I loved the Klingons as allies).

As for a final rating I'm going to go: 3 stars.

However there are some major problems with this episode (and the war arc in general), as the Federation had 4 key victories during the war arc but still seemed to be losing.

1) The shipyards that were destroyed in "Call to Arms". Were they repaired? Shouldn't that hinder their fleet rebuilding process?

2) The Ketracel White issue. Everyone has brought this up. It was deemed a victory in "A Time to Stand" but nothing came of it. It needed to be mentioned, but never was.

3) The sensor array in the Argolis Cluster. Shouldn't the Dominion now have trouble tracking ship movements (they seemed to know exactly where the Federation ships were in a "Favor the Bold").

4) The Prophets. I am willing to forgive the writers if something came of it, which it did the ultimate letdown of Sisko's arc in "What You Leave Behind". However, the destruction of 2300 ships just seemed to be taken in stride (as stated above) by the Founder and Weyoun. Were the Dominion weakened in the Gamma Quadrant? How vulnerable were they in the Alpha Quadrant? The Founder ordered all ships back to Cardassian space, so it seemed everything was going to status quo before the war. What annoyed me was that even after all these defeats the Dominion were still going to win (as we see in "Statistical Probabilities" before the Romulan intervention). I thought maybe a mention should have happened about the happenings in the Gamma Quadrant, in that maybe stoke a rebellion there to help destabilize the entire Dominion. It seemed that the Gamma Quadrant was seen less and less in the later seasons of DS9, and it maybe should have been mined (pun intended) for plot devices to meet new aliens there to help the fight against the Dominion there.

5) The ships around the station were mentioned, when Nog stated they were leaving and Sisko said "let them go, as we're in no position to fight". What would have been more exciting is Kira/Rom re-activated the weapons system and fought those ships off to give the Federation/Klingon fleet cover.

6) Dukat's descent into madness was quick, but still believable. Everything he ever wanted was gone....again.

7) Bajorans helped Kira deactivate the stations weapons system....shouldn't that affect the Non-Aggression Pact with the Dominion?

8) All in all, this episode was going to have flaws because it was concluding so much. Was the war-arc successful? Yes it was. However, there could have been improvements as the writers dropped the ball as "major events" in each episode were just completely forgotten the next week during an arc in which continuity was important.
Fri, Oct 21, 2011, 5:53pm (UTC -5)
I was rather impressed by the three-dimensional nature of the battle, and how you could see two parallel planes of ships facing off.
Mon, Nov 7, 2011, 4:15pm (UTC -5)
The issue of Dominion ships evacuating DS9 -- but not attacking the Defiant -- never made any sense. You either have to assume the evacuation ships were poorly armed (and did we ever see a lightly armed Jem Hadar ship?) or that the Dominion didn't want to attack (which makes little sense given the female changeling's fury in 'What You Leave Behind').

The issue about the size of the Federation fleet is less egregious, in my mind. Throughout TNG, we heard lines about ships going on long exploratory missions (the Gandhi, the Aries). In fact, the ship Bashir's med school rival was stationed on (the Sutherland?) in the early DS9 days was sent on a long mission, too.

My guess is that the Federation started building more ships after the Borg encounter and started bringing ships out from far-flung reaches as early as season 3 of DS9 (with the looming Dominion threat, with the Maquis, and certainly after the Klingon attack on DS9 in season 4). Thirty-nine ships might have been a big blow when hundreds were on the outskirts and before the Starfleet post-Wolf 359 buildup.

It's also possible that Starfleet took losses in the wars with Cardassia and the skirmishes with the Txengethi (sp?). Maybe 2364-67 was a sort of low point in available ships for Starfleet.

One other reason to think this: The Enterprise-E launched just two years after the D was destroyed. Clearly, Sovereign-class ships were being built before 2371.

Now, why the Federation flagship had, apparently, no role in the Dominion war is something that I've never understood. Even a line about the Enterprise leading a task force would have been appreciated. Otherwise, it could be assumed that Starfleet wasn't sending all its ships into the war -- which makes little sense.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011, 11:53am (UTC -5)
See, I have no problem with the ships at the station. Presumably many of them were dispatched as reinforcements (Given Dukat has a reserve of 2300 about to come through the Wormhole, I can see him throwing all his initial reserve into the fight). The ones at evacuation, it was mentioned that several hundred Federation / Klingon ships had broken through their lines. They didn't have time to start a fight with the Defiant, lest they be trapped by the time the rest of the fleet got there.

As to the Prophets, I appreciate the scene as the culmination of the "Emissary Trilogy" of Destiny/Accession/Rapture. He goes from not believing in the "wormhole aliens" to going to the mountain top a desperate man, asking for his gods to bring him a miracle. It's the doubting Sisko parting the Red Sea, and for that, it works.

Asmto the "The Sisko is of Bajor but will find no rest there" I buy it as well, since the ending of "What You Leave Behind" for me echoes The Visitor. Like in that episode, we leave with Jake alone, looking out the window for a missing father, and we have Sisko stranded out of time. Given how that timeline turned out, it's not exactly a happy ending for our Captain.
Wed, Jan 11, 2012, 4:38pm (UTC -5)
David -- that makes sense, it's just not explained. A throwaway line of dialog ("We've got to use the remaining ships to get our personnel out of here -- they wouldn't stand a chance against the Federation ships on the way!") would have helped.
Wed, Apr 11, 2012, 5:17pm (UTC -5)
Not sure why most everyone here assumes that The Prophets destroyed or "obliterated" the Dominion fleet. It simply disappeared. It also probably reappeared back in the Gamma Quadrant. It's their wormhole and they simply cut off The Dominion's access to it.

Makes sense to me...
Wed, Apr 11, 2012, 5:59pm (UTC -5)
Except they don't reappear in the Gamma Quadrant. According to dialogue after the ships disappear, saying that their listening posts don't detect them in the Gamma Quadrant either.
Tue, May 8, 2012, 3:55pm (UTC -5)
@David: Agreed. It's possible the Prophets simply moved the Dominion ships, but it's never clearly stated, and the clear implication is that they were destroyed. It's possible, I guess, that they were moved very far away ...

What was also slightly frustrating after this episode and until "Tears of the Prophets" was that the Prophets were keeping the wormhole closed (Worf says something about that in the season 6 finale).
Jadzia's fan
Mon, May 14, 2012, 6:13pm (UTC -5)
A Time to Stand / Sacrifice of Angels is my favorite arc in the series.
Paul York
Thu, May 17, 2012, 12:11pm (UTC -5)
I liked the arc because of the characterizations, esp. Dukat, who is pictured as not totally evil, but as someone 1) wants the adulation of his victims, which turns out to be a tactical weakness because it means he refuses to kill them, and 2) loves his daughter deeply and is driven to madness by losing her and the station ... his character was very well-written and played.

Odo as well: here is a character who torn by emotions, including his desire for "paradise", his love for Kira (which led him essentially to mass murder in Children of Time), and his duty to his friends, and to justice. He is a very complex character, not entirely good or evil.

Also, Rom and Quark both exhibited a very un-Ferengi bravey and altruism that was compelling. Kira's mirror scenes and her fear of becoming complicit are powerful as well, as is the way that Dukat's daughter is torn by her love for her father and her loyalty to her friends. All in all I found these internal conflicts and transformations very compelling. Dukat's loss was very moving; though he is an evil man, I really felt for him.

Also the duty of the Jem Hadar to their masters, despite knowing they were being betrayed by them ... the Founder came across as the only totally evil character with no redeeming features. Can anyone explain why shape-shifters feel it necessary to gain political and military power in the galaxy? They have "paradise" on their planet already -- why the powerlust?
Thu, May 17, 2012, 2:15pm (UTC -5)
@Paul :

According to their own propaganda at least, they are paranoid about the solids reïnflicting their prejudiced persecution upon them (the irony is apparently, totally lost upon the entire link).
Wed, Sep 19, 2012, 11:30pm (UTC -5)
I have some of the same misgivings that most people here have. It was a great episode but seemed a bit rushed and, of course, contrived. I think that the main problem with how they resolved the Occupation Arc due to the writers gradually digging the characters on the station into a hole that was almost literally impossible for them to get out of, starting with Rom, the only person capable of disabling the station's deflector, being captured by the Dominion and thrown into a holding cell while Damar proceeded with his plan to deactivate the minefield. Once Damar successfully detonated the minefield allowing for Dominion reinforcements to come through the wormhole, the writers REALLY had to be in a bind at the point, hence the "deus ex machina" use of the Prophets that they ultimately used to get rid of the Dominion fleet at the end. In a way, I didn't like it but I honestly couldn't think of anything short of a genuine "miracle" that was going to save the Federation at that point, which is, of course, exactly what Sisko got. Other than the season finale, the Occupation Arc (sans Sons & Daughters, which I only recently saw on DVD) was all that I've seen of S6, so I'll be eager to see what the rest of S6 is like.
Sun, Oct 21, 2012, 9:38pm (UTC -5)
To me, the weakest part of the Dominion Occupation story arc was the way Odo's eleventh hour redemption was handled. The act of redemption was predictible, if handled badly. But what was really out of character was Odo's lack of guilt or remorse for his acts of betrayal. It was a complete cop out by the writers. I believe they had an alternate ending in mind for Odo that got collectively scrapped, and they had to scramble to come up with this lame version. Fact is, the writers painted themselves into a corner with Odo's initial betrayal with no plausable way to extricate themselves.
Mon, Nov 26, 2012, 8:38am (UTC -5)
The first episodes of season 6 were really good ones and I was so disappointed with this "ending".

There were nice touches here and there (Quark stunned by his actions, the amazing battle, Garak's face when the Klingons came to the rescue) but the rest seemed so rushed and badly thought.

The worst thing (besides the horrible alien-god-all-knowing-thingies in the wormhole) is Odo's arc. They could have gone two ways: Odo taking side with the Founders and become the enemy or at least make him want to hide himself because of his poor judgement and (in)actions.

Him being the one to welcome the Defiant's crew on DS9 was wrong on so many levels. And as far as I can remember, he never makes excuses to Rom or any of the crew - except for his beloved Kira - that's unfortunately poor writing.
Wed, Dec 5, 2012, 6:07am (UTC -5)
A literal Deus ex Machina (God in the Machine) done RIGHT--that is, if Sisko knew/planned for that. Otherwise, just lame.

As in--if Sisko deliberately went into the Wormhole planning to get them to do that... If not, kind of lame.

Also--Pantheon vs. Pantheon? Bajor's Gods vs. the Dominion's Gods? Dig into that one a bit. :)

Other bits: that bit where the Female Changeling told Odo they were killing Kira just made "Children of Time" SO!! worth it. This guy will kill 8000 people he's lived with for 200 years for Kira. Who do you think you are to him...?

Also, that bit with Quark and the Jem'Hadar was AWESOME! Best in-character-for-everybody-moment! Quark is awesome!

I have been dreading Ziyal's death for *forever*. I knew she'd die before watching the show, but I didn't know how.

I couldn't have been more surprised at how... not sappy... it turned out to be. It was AWESOME!

My (odd) misremembering/expectation was that Gul Dukat kills Ziyal and Garak gets a sappy shitty romantic crap moment.

This was AWESOME!

My whole back-log opinion of Gul Dukat has flipped on his head. Before, it was "I like you, but you have no soul." Now it's "DUDE! You are awesome! The perfect villain."

Oh dear, and in looking him up in Deviant Art... I just found out how he dies. Dang it!
Thu, Dec 6, 2012, 8:31pm (UTC -5)
I love this episode. Especially Dukat's breakdown at the end. This was his last chance for the Greatness he believed his life had been building to. Finally he was going to get the respect and even adulation from his enemies thathe felt he'd earned, and that would make up for all his errors in the Bajoran occupation, and instead, at the last moment everything (including Ziyal) is ripped away from him and he is left alone. It would be enough to break anyone's spirit, but for a an egotist like Dukat it is even worse.

As for the moment where he "forgives" Sisko, I believe he means it. I think that is the moment that he realizes that it is not Sisko he's been fighting against all this time, but rather the Gods that made Sisko their Emissary. I think he realizes he has no grudge with Sisko. It's a moment that gets paid off later in "Empok Nor".
Sat, Dec 22, 2012, 6:58pm (UTC -5)
The federation was fighting for it's very existence in this episode - and the Enterprise, being the flagship, should defiantly have been there.

It was the only thing that bothered me.
Chris NI
Sun, Mar 17, 2013, 7:31am (UTC -5)
When CBS get around to giving DS9 the Blu-ray treatment, the space battle in this episode will look amazing. I especially loved the bit where a Cardassian warship is taking pot-shots at the Federation fleet as they're racing towards the hole in the Dominion lines. After a few seconds, two Galaxy-class starships come alongside it and pound it with phasers.

It would be cool if they could add the Enterprise E in the background kicking some ass.
Mon, Jul 29, 2013, 12:28pm (UTC -5)
Watching this as a 14-year-old I was apoplectic at the deus ex machina, although I didn't know the term at the time. This is a highly contrived and disappointing episode, especially as the conclusion to such an unprecedentedly ambitious and largely overwhelmingly successful arc. It felt like a massive cop-out. At the time, I even started planning and writing an alternative ending. There was nothing wrong with the arc that a better final episode wouldn't have solved. (The same applies to BSG's final season. The final arc had its problems, for sure, but fundamentally there was nothing majorly wrong with it up to and including Daybreak I that a better finale wouldn't have solved. But Daybreak II was simply atrocious.)

I didn't like contrivances 1, 3 and 5 in your list. I had no problem with Rom disabling the weapons, but the fact that a) the Defiant was the only ship to break through (or at least the first), and b) the station was undefended by any ships and the Defiant was allowed to continue to the wormhole were major contrivances. I loved the arrival of the Klingons though.

Odo's betrayal and return to the fold is inadequately handled, as you point out. I also found the sudden abandonment of the station and particularly Dukat's instantaneous descent into madness highly inauthentic contrivances. Combined with "Waltz", this was the beginning of the end for Dukat's character - turning a nuanced, realistic, charismatic figure into a cartoonish personification of evil is never a good idea, especially when the character is played by such a good actor.

Finally, as effective as the effects shots were, I found the battle scenes very bitty.
Wed, Aug 28, 2013, 10:46pm (UTC -5)
Is the use of a wrench to fix a car a Deus Ex Machina? Is the use of negotiation to create a peace treaty a DEM?

I'd agree with the removal of the Dominion fleet as an example of DEM if the Prophets were found to be frauds, hoaxes, or proven to be nothing more than legend. Frankly, it is (on one level) a race of beings exercising power which they both rightfully have and up until now have restrained.

Furthermore, I find that the choice the Prophets make here to be the beginning of their arc. Imagine being on a Third World planet with problems and having to look at the Prime Directive in effect in reverse. It would suck if the only stories you could tell were of powerful beings coming by and choosing to do nothing because they were bound by law to restrain themselves. Only through their action in the face of previous inaction can their higher purposes be seen. To me, that fits their status in Bajoran society as gods and justifies the Bajoran belief in their legendary abilities - abilities which we have now seen and similarly must believe in.
Mon, Sep 23, 2013, 10:14pm (UTC -5)
I would argue that having the Prophets destroy the Dominion fleet was not Deus Ex Machina. A fundamental part of DEM is that it is completely unexpected.

As viewers, we've seen the Prophets stop ships going through the wormhole on multiple occasions. We've even seen them alter the mind of the Grand Nagus and transport the false Emissary hundreds of years into the future for their own purposes. It's well established that they will interfere if they choose and that Sisko has a unique relationship with them that might be used to influence them to act.
Sun, Oct 27, 2013, 8:55pm (UTC -5)
Strong finish to the two-parter, although somewhat predictable.

Thu, Dec 12, 2013, 9:41am (UTC -5)
This is where DS9 jumps the shark and gets poorly written.
Sat, Feb 8, 2014, 10:37pm (UTC -5)
I agree with Neil, the whole DEM of the fleet dissapearing in the wormhole undid all the great work in the setup writing, acting and special effects.

There would have been numerous more beleivable ways to eliminate that fleet. I don't know what the scriptwriters were thinking - they had set it all up with the hard work, delicacy and precision of watchmakers and then just hit the whole thing on the head with a sledgehammer DEM plot device.
Tue, May 6, 2014, 9:05pm (UTC -5)
"As viewers, we've seen the Prophets stop ships going through the wormhole on multiple occasions. We've even seen them alter the mind of the Grand Nagus and transport the false Emissary hundreds of years into the future for their own purposes. It's well established that they will interfere if they choose and that Sisko has a unique relationship with them that might be used to influence them to act." - JPaul

Agreed. For Sisko to enter the wormhole on an obvious suicide run would undoubtedly get the Prophets attention. The dialogue pertaining to the fact made sense to me and in no way did it qualify as a DEM.

That being said, this was a fantastic two-episode finale to a mostly great arc. I would love to have seen more elements of the arc fleshed out by the addition of a couple more episodes, but what is here I can't really complain about. Even in the final chapters' sudden change of heart by Odo to abandon the Great Link made sense to me. As the reality of everything really sunk in when the female changeling announced Kira's upcoming execution.

A lot of comments on here, so I will keep mine brief. Awash in a sea of interesting reading. (:

Really good stuff that could've been further enhanced by a few tweaks here and there. Not the best two-parter of ST, or DS9 for that matter, but really high up on the scale. The fact that it was part of the first true serialization attempt (or long-arc attempt) of ST made it even more promising for the potential of storytelling for this universe.

Favor the Bold: 3.5 stars.
Sacrifice of Angels: 3.5 stars.
Thu, Jun 12, 2014, 8:04pm (UTC -5)
The biggest problem I have with the DEM ending is that it doesn't even play by the DS9's own rules. The Bajorans might worship the wormhole aliens as Gods, but they're clearly not Gods. Q might just be a God, but the Prophets are nothing more than non-humanoid aliens. It's established (The Assignment, The Reckoning) that the Federation has the ability to kill them. One would assume that the Dominion does as well, and that the Dominion would have spent a modicum of effort studying them (they certainly studied the Alpha Quadrant for years before making their move) both before and after this episode.

So yeah, the wormhole aliens can disappear ships inside their realm. Awesome power that. Why exactly doesn't the Dominion retaliate? The wormhole aliens essentially declared war on the Dominion, the second most ruthless (after the Borg) power in the Milky Way Galaxy, and the Dominion did..... nothing about it.

The Dominion wiping them out with the same ruthlessness they showed towards the Maquis might have made for an interesting story. The fallout on Bajor, the empowerment of the Pah-Wraiths, Sisko and Kira's torment, power hungry Monks and Vedeks (Winn?) using it for their own twisted ends.... Nah, let's just carry on with our hokey religion subplot, on Star Trek, probably the most Agnostic show in television history. We've gone from Picard's speech in Who Watches the Watchers to Sisko playing the role of God's Messenger and Archangel. He's part Muhammad, part Michael! Yawn.

I concur with the head scratching about the massive size of the respective fleets. Partly for the discussed continuity reasons, mostly because I'm a proponent of "less is more". It's hard to have an emotional attachment to clearly disposable and mass produced CGI ships.

The USS Odyssey going down in flames and the graveyard scene from BoBW still provide kicks in the gut when I re-watch those episodes. Would The Jem'Hadar have been better if it had been a task force getting wiped out instead of one ship? Would BoBW have been better with 39 CGI ships blowing up? I think not.

Another nit: CAPTAIN Sisko commands the entire fleet?!? No Admiral Ross or Nechayev? Did we blow the whole budget on CGI and have nothing left for a guest star?

Ross should have been leading the charge, with Sisko at his side, stewing over the fact that the Defiant is out there without him. What happened to that subplot anyway? Oh yeah, we used The Reset Button to put Sisko back in the Captain's Chair.
Fri, Jun 13, 2014, 9:14am (UTC -5)
Unless they can be 100% sure that killing the wormhole aliens won't collapse the wormhole that doesn't seem the best plan. It's a LOOOONG way to the alpha quadrant.
Mon, Jun 30, 2014, 9:13pm (UTC -5)
Robert, you're looking at it from a technobabble point of view, not a storytelling one. The wormhole does whatever the writers say it can. Killing the prophets off would have made for an infinity better story than the Messianic nonsense they ultimately used them for, as well as an emotional punch in the gut at least as heavy as the Maquis being wiped out and Betazoid conquered.
Tue, Jul 1, 2014, 8:35am (UTC -5)
@Tim - It's BAD writing to say that the wormhole can do whatever the writers say and so they should have killed the prophets. Unless the Dominion can read ahead in the script they should not be doing actions that are highly questionable just because they will turn out ok for them!

WEYOUN : The wormhole aliens appear to have made our reinforcements disappear, it's time to retreat.
DUKAT : If they are going to stop us from bringing in reinforcements this war is going to be endless. Damar fire a chroniton beam into the...
FOUNDER : Belay that order. If you kill them all, how do we know that the wormhole will ever open up at all? And I'll be cut off from the link. Forever.

It's such an unpredictable event that to have Dukat and company do it would really push the boundaries of disbelief.
Thu, Aug 14, 2014, 6:21pm (UTC -5)
The reason this episode didn't work is that the writers did not plan the arc this far. Parts of this war, and overall story, were stolen wholesale from Babylon 5, which was written start to finish more or less. But here, the arc came crashing down when their mish mash of writing fell apart around them.

"What do we do now?"

Season 7 was the worst of all. I still think DS9 is a very good show though overall.
Mon, Aug 18, 2014, 10:50am (UTC -5)
I knock this episode down a whole point, but not for Dukat's demise nor the disappearing Dominion fleet.

If losing Terok Nor twice, the second by Sisko's direct intervention (as the Emissary) and then losing his daughter (which he gave up his position in Cardassia for) doesn't put him over the top, what the frak else needs to happen then? I thought his reactions were appropriate and personally was glad to see him go bonkers. We already knew he was mentally unstable.

Also, I always thought that the prophets made the Dominion fleet disappear because they needed to protect the Emissary. While I don't like the whole "Emissary" story line, I figured that had to be it. He still hasn't fulfilled his "destiny". I can see where some don’t like that as it has to be implied rather than written into the script.

What I don't like is that Odo is just back to business as usual and the whole 'white' thing just vanishes.

So 3 stars for me.
Wed, Aug 27, 2014, 1:51pm (UTC -5)
This episode started the massive decline in quality that this series suffered, culminating in one of the worst series seasons of all time.

The writers wrote themselves into a corner. They had no idea how to wrap up the arc and they left the hardest part for one episode. It's all very lazy. The "jail break" was more comedy than anything else, not to mention Kira and the gang would be long dead. Dukat's "Oh she is special to me" is nonsense, and just an excuse to rationalize Kira being spared for this long.

There is no way that station was being retaken. It simply wouldn't happen. And even if it had, the Cardassians/Founders would have had it bombed to bits.

And the final nail in the coffin... one of the worst deus ex machinas ever. I don't even need to elaborate.

It's an entertaining episode, but if you want some real meat to the story telling, this isn't it.
Wed, Sep 24, 2014, 12:17pm (UTC -5)
I'm with some of the posters here in that I really don't agree that the wormhole scene is a deus ex machina. I mean, it LITERALLY is because it happens because of metaphysical entities, but from a storytelling perspective it's already been clearly established what the Prophets' capabilities are. Not only that but it's their home, the wormhole, that's the macguffin here. If they didn't get involved in some way it would have been really obvious that the writers are separating the Prophets plot from the War plot, which would have been a straight up mistake. It's supposed to all tie together and the writers used the series mythos to create a twist on what otherwise would have been a straight battle. We've seen battles already and a straight up tactical victory between fleets might have felt a little bit hollow. Like, why couldn't they have just done that *before* to win?

Anyway, I agree with some of Jammer's criticisms - but not all. Odo's "redemption" was necessary and couldn't have happened any other way. It was a bit convenient, I guess, and it might have been more impactful to see him regroup his deputies to help out rather than have them swoop in from behind the scenes. I don't have a serious qualm with it though. If Odo gets let off the hook too easily after this (I forget what happens), that's the flaw in the series rather than this episode on its own.

What's amazing here is the absolute roller coaster going on. It starts off exciting with the battle, then darkens as our characters on Terok Nor get arrested and the villains gloat about victory. Then the mood jumps a bit as our characters escape and the Defiant gets through the front lines. Then dark again, when the minefield comes down, and everything is bleak until the Prophets involve themselves. Then there's awe and forboding about what just happened, and then celebration when we realize our heroes are the winners. Then Dukat's descent starts to make things uncomfortable - becoming clear that this isn't just a setback for him. The Ziyal scene then just jumps the episode into the abyss, and even when our heroes triumphantly board the station again (with Bashir and O'Brien setting up a holosuite date no less) it still feels more sober than a victory like this should.

Yeah, that's a pretty crude breakdown of how this episode plays out, but what an ending.

Easy 4 stars for me. An exhilarating conclusion to no question the best stretch of episodes thus far.
Sat, Nov 1, 2014, 9:40pm (UTC -5)
From what I remember reading about the behind the scenes of this arc is that it was an evolution and experimentation by all the writers in doing a continuing story like this over multiple episodes, so I can't judge it that harshly if things don't add up or make complete sense. It had just never been done before in Trek. They talk about how in the writer's rooms there was confusion about what was going on with which events take place where and when. I think now about the story rooms of Lost and how everything was mapped out over half a season to get some consistency, or even back then for Babylon 5 you have one person writing complete seasons. ron moore even talks about with the inner light how the focus was on the episode and telling a good story and it's not until later they thought about the repercussions, so it's not hard for me to see when this episode came out they're still in that serialising transition period, so i cut them a little slack.
Wed, Dec 17, 2014, 1:00pm (UTC -5)
As always with DS9, I loved it... up until they brought in the prophets. Way to kill your episode and everything you've worked for in this arc.

DS9 would have been such a good show without those prophets (that definitely killed season 7).
Mon, Dec 29, 2014, 8:05am (UTC -5)
Just rewatched this over the weekend to close out the arc. To me, it almost sounds like the Prophets are telling Sisko about Jadzia's death at the hands of the Pah Wraiths.

It also made total sense for Damar to kill Ziyal. Well to him, at least. He stands for what Cardassia is all about and well if you're a traitor against Cardassia you have to be killed.

And honestly Dukat has to be the best Star Trek villan ever. So complex a character, and this episode has some great Marc Alimo performances in it.
Mon, Dec 29, 2014, 8:13am (UTC -5)
Ah, sorry just thought of something else.

For those of you who didn't like how the Prophets nixed the Dominion fleet: Really the only other way to get rid of the almost 3000 of them would have been to bring in Q and that would've been a far worse bit of writing IMO.
Mon, Dec 29, 2014, 8:34am (UTC -5)
I totally did not mind the prophet's intervention. But they could have just gotten there in time to stop the minefield from coming down :)
Wed, Dec 31, 2014, 7:32pm (UTC -5)

They were probably unaware of the mine field. Hell, Sisko had to describe what was coming through the wormhole to them before they understood enough to act.
Fri, Jan 2, 2015, 6:23am (UTC -5)
@Yanks - I think you may have misunderstood my comment.

"I totally did not mind the prophet's intervention. But they could have just gotten there in time to stop the minefield from coming down :) "

Was in reference to

"For those of you who didn't like how the Prophets nixed the Dominion fleet: Really the only other way to get rid of the almost 3000 of them would have been to bring in Q and that would've been a far worse bit of writing IMO. "

IE - If the Defiant had showed up 3 minutes earlier they wouldn't have needed the prophets. But on the whole I personally like what the "penance" and whatnot paid off later in the series.
Fri, Jan 2, 2015, 5:45pm (UTC -5)
I had no problem with your points Robert.

Just pointing out that the prophets don't seem to understand much until it's explained.
Wed, Mar 4, 2015, 6:40pm (UTC -5)
The strong points of this episode were, as has been mentioned, the magnificent battle sequences and Dukat's spiral into madness. Some people have mentioned that they found Garak's reaction to her death to be underplayed, but I thought that was completely in character for him. By nature he suppresses his emotions, joys and fears as best as he can, and I thought that the last scene, where he Defiant crew return to DS9, conveyed the sense of Garak's awareness of Ziyal's absence very fittingly. You can see him walking around and looking frantically for her, and then when someone mentions that she's in the infirmary, he goes off like a shot. His expression at her deathbed reminded me of him standing in the midst of ruined Cardassia in the last episode: a deep well of grief that he holds at bay.

Also agree with some former posters here that Odo's (predictable) betrayal and subsequent return to the fold could have been handled a lot better. At this point it seems pretty clear that the only reason Odo's not siding with the Founders is because of Kira, which makes him a rather loose cannon. What if Kira had managed to get herself killed? The events of this arc make it clear that he's not fit for duty and can be easily manipulated, yet this is something that's never fully addressed per his relationship with the 'solids' other than Kira.

While we're on the subject of Kira, I do think that the producers are taking it a bit overboard with her Mary-Sueish "Wonder Woman" depiction. Dukat's obsessed with her, Odo's obsessed with her, Bareil and Shakaar and Riker and Bashir and Quark all fall for her, and she's capable of knocking the living daylights out of a fully armoured Cardassian twice her size...What?
Fri, Apr 24, 2015, 1:53am (UTC -5)
I loved this arc, except Sons and Daughters. Just couldn't stand it. Of course Odo made me mad enough to eat nails, but I enjoyed the story anyway. I just hate the way Odo looks when he is linking, he has that same lethargic expression that babies have when they are kept in a swing too long and can't speak to say they want out. (I think they may be sick) I also wish they had kept Ziyal alive, maybe she could have bonded with Jake and Nog as a potential playmate. Either way I just LOVED this arc, I had not seen it in years. This time I am attempting to watch every show in this serial from beginning to end.

BTW I like the post about not using Q. real funny.
Tue, May 5, 2015, 11:09am (UTC -5)
This is probably my third time watching this episode and it really does not get better with subsequent viewings. Here are my issues with it:

1. The Odo story. So apparently The Great Link is paradise - which would indicate it's highly addictive - and Odo just walks away from it? And after his many betrayals - including having a conversation about the Resistance with the female Changeling in the room - all is forgiven after he saves Kira at the end? This was just way to easy and contrived. Basically "let's have Odo dance with the devil for a while and then get him back into the fold quick and easy with no lasting impact".

2. As others have mentioned, none of the things that happened in previous episodes to impact the Dominion war effort ever had a noticeable impact. What happened to the limited supply of White? What about the destruction of the shipyards or the sensor array? It's as if none of it mattered.

3. The Battle. I cannot for the life of me understand how the writers think "good" space strategy would be to get a bunch of ships close together in the vastness of space for a huge battle. If I were the Federation, and I were trying to get to DS9, there would seem to be a nearly infinite number of paths for getting there. Why in the world would a group my "last ditch" fleet in close proximity to each other where they could easily be destroyed? Why wouldn't you break it up into many, many, smaller groupings each with a different path to get to the station? No way with its sensor array out the Dominion would be able to stop them all from getting there. Setting that aside and accepting the stupid premise that the Federation would group its fleet together in such a way, once they spotted the huge Dominion fleet, why wouldn't they have just gone to warp and gone around it? Again, they could have sent different groupings on different routes. At a minimum, the faster ships would have reached DS9 before the Dominion. Why would you risk all at that point to try to "break through" this grouping of ships that's an infinitely small cluster in the vastness of space? This makes absolutely no sense. Maybe if they had said there was a HUGE nebula between the Federation fleet and DS9 and this was the quickest way there and the Dominion fleet was waiting there...that might make sense. But by all indications, this was the middle of nowhere.

4. The whole "descent into madness" thing for Dukat is just poorly acted and even more poorly written. Just a convenient plot device to get him onto a different character stage. I could understand a breakdown after seeing his daughter die, but they had him breaking down before that just because his plans didn't work out. Just not very believable to me.

5. Quark rescuing Rom. The Jem'hadar would have shot him on site if he was pointing a weapon at them. They were basically both pointing their weapons at him and didn't fire. I guess they were *slightly* askew (not pointing directly at Quark), but we had the typical DS9 cliche of "winding up" to pull a trigger when they could have easily shot him. Or one could have created a distraction and the other could have shot him. These guys are *bred* for war and they were so easily taken out by a Ferengi? This is just so many levels of silly. Why weren't one or more of them shrouded? Yeah, White shortage and all, but wouldn't you divert extra White to the guys guarding these very important prisoners.

To me, DS9 does not hold a candle to Babylon 5. It's OK-to-decent Star Trek, but the writers' need to interject all kinds of conflict amongst the crew is just off-putting, especially when ST was built on the ideal of a crew that always got a long. I still get a warm feeling from watching TNG episodes, a feeling I almost never get from DS9. If I want to see infighting, I can just go to the offic.e
Tue, May 5, 2015, 11:48am (UTC -5)
Since I just can't seem to let this "space battle" thing go:
1. Whatever happened to "hey captain, there's this giant Dominion Fleet on our sensors. It's about 8 hours out. I just thought I'd let you know." Seems like the writers forgot about long range sensors. The Dominion fleet can't cloak. Should have been fairly easy to pick up such a massive number of ships! Instead, we get this clever dialogue:

O'BRIEN: I'm picking something up. It's a large Dominion fleet bearing zero zero four mark zero zero nine.

Instead of Cisco saying "how close is it?" or "can we go around it" or anything else remotely intelligent, he just charges into battle when his ONLY goal at this point is to get to DS9 and stop the OTHER massive Dominion fleet from coming through. At least come up with some plot contrivance that FORCES Cisco to fight this fight. There's nothing. He decides he needs "punch through" this fleet that's a single grain of sand on a beach the size of Texas instead of just walking around it.

2. So if the favored strategy of space warfare in the day is to create these massive fleets of ships that travel right next to each other for some reason, why not develop long-range weapons that you can fire over light years? You know, maybe equip photon or quantum torpedoes with warp engines and bombard these huge fleets from light years out? Or launch devices from way out that could irradiate a large area? Kind of like old-fashioned shelling? Why would you fight the fight that they want you to? I know, this wouldn't look very fun on TV, and HUGE SPACE BATTLES!!! are a lot more exciting, but this is SCIENCE fiction, right? So shouldn't we use logic?

Eh, whatever. End rant.
Tue, May 5, 2015, 11:50am (UTC -5)
Oh, SISKO no Cisco. Ha, my computer-focused brain.
Tue, May 5, 2015, 6:51pm (UTC -5)
But it was a good rant SecMan.

There is only 2 battles in trek that I can remember that weren't "2 dimensional".

Kirk v Khan in TWOK and Riker making the vertical climb in AGT. The battle in Nemesis was epic and graceful, but still pretty 2 dimensional.
Wed, May 6, 2015, 10:49am (UTC -5)
And why didn't the Klingon's hail Sisko and let him know they were on their way to THE BATTLE? You think that might have affected his strategy at all? Or maybe the Klingons should have just headed to DS9 since the Dominion fleet was busy with Sisko?

As others have pointed out, what happened to all the Dominion ships guarding DS9? They *all* left to go in search of this Federation fleet? Wouldn't that have left DS9 - the supposed key to the war - completely unguarded? Yeah, the station is pretty heavily armed, but wouldn't the clever Dominion have worried about sabotage of the station's weapon systems, which is exactly what happened? And if some of the fleet remained at DS9, why didn't they engage Sisko when he arrived? And why didn't we see any ships near the station when he flew into the wormhole?

With the whole deus ex machina thing, now suddenly the Prophets are worried about Sisko dying? How many times has his life been in equal jeopardy and they never called him into the principal's office before. What was special about *this particular way* of dying that they suddenly decided to care? It would seem if he as invaluable to their plans they would have protected him at every step, practically making him invincible. It's not like they appear to have any qualms about intervening when they want to. Seems like this DSM thing was just another ridiculous plot contrivance created to get the writers out of a "maximum tension" situation. When they decided to write that the mines would be detonated to raise the tension and to free up the worm hole for future episodes, they *had* to resolve the huge Dominion fleet somehow. And it couldn't be at the hands of some Federation scheme or that would tip the balance of the war and take away all the tension. Whatever strategy they would have used to defeat such a large fleet could have been repeated in future engagements.

Oh, and when before did Sisko *ever* express any interest in staying on Bajor after the war? What about his dad on Earth and presumably other family members? What suddenly made him so fond of Bajor that he decided to live there? Yet another plot contrivance. The writers decided the Prophets had to
"extract a price" for their intervention (I guess to keep Sisko from forcing their hand again and again) so they made up something that was important to Sisko - within the span of a single episode - only to take it away again. Wow, what an incredible sacrifice Sisko made. Guess he will just have to keep living on Earth!

So many plot holes here. Seems like the script was written by a teenager. That being said, I remember the first time I saw it back when it originally aired thinking it was pretty cool. At the time, seeing huge fleet engagements like that was pretty kick ass. Which is, I guess, what the writers were counting on, that we'd be too distracted by all the pretty fighting not to notice the silly plot logic.

Funny, last night I watched the Worf marriage episode, the one right after Sacrifice of Angels, and I thought "this is much better than any of the stories in the War Arc". They at least developed characters some and I thought the actual wedding ceremony was quite clever and creative. See, the writers *could* write good stuff when they wanted to. I think they tried to do too much in the War Arc to try and build tension, and it really wasn't that tense, and the stories just didn't really build on each other to where the outcome of each mattered to the conclusion. And in the end, nothing much changed. DS9 was still in Federation hands, the Dominion was contained back in Cardassian space, the worm hole was open as always. It really didn't accomplish much.
Wed, May 6, 2015, 11:03am (UTC -5)
Agreed. Three dimensions has never been their strong suit. It's as if they are projecting naval strategy into space. I'm no war strategist, but I can imagine space war strategy would be very different from naval strategy. The hugeness and limitlessness of space would make a lot of the naval strategies impossible. And the strategies from modern naval warfare that *could* work, like hitting other ships from a distance with missiles, are entirely missing from the ST universe. They seem to think we'd revert back to close proximity shelling of each other for some reason when the galaxy is made up of billions and billions of light years of empty space peppered with some stars. Heck, if you've ever played ST: Armada, in that game they at least have Starfleet ships that can bombard their targets from far away. Why not just bombard the enemy from far away with missiles containing those energy draining things they used in that TNG episode "Booby Trap"? I guess, while it's logical, it wouldn't make for good TV viewing.
Latex Zebra
Thu, May 7, 2015, 5:47am (UTC -5)
Hi Secman,

Not going to cover all your points as some are quite valid… However…

"With the whole deus ex machina thing, now suddenly the Prophets are worried about Sisko dying? How many times has his life been in equal jeopardy and they never called him into the principal's office before."

They’re prophets and time is linear to them, they know the past/future/etc. They only intervened as they knew in this instance he would actually die. The rest of the time he has merely been in jeopardy!

"Oh, and when before did Sisko *ever* express any interest in staying on Bajor after the war? What about his dad on Earth and presumably other family members? What suddenly made him so fond of Bajor that he decided to live there? Yet another plot contrivance. The writers decided the Prophets had to
"extract a price" for their intervention (I guess to keep Sisko from forcing their hand again and again) so they made up something that was important to Sisko - within the span of a single episode - only to take it away again. Wow, what an incredible sacrifice Sisko made. Guess he will just have to keep living on Earth!"

There is an episode were he discusses with Admiral Ross his intention to build a house on Bajor.
Thu, May 7, 2015, 8:38am (UTC -5)
Hi Latex,
Point taken about the prophets. That's logical.

Regarding the "house on Bajor", I think that was revealed in the episode just prior to this one. So, yeah, while it wasn't revealed and resolved within a *single* episode, I think the point still stands. They just quickly introduced this "desire" of Sisko's within the War Arc for the convenience of having something to "give up". Still seems pretty lazy to me. Again, you get to the end of the War Arc and everything is pretty much status quo. We never thought Sisko would *want* to stay on Bajor before the Arc, so it hardly seems like much of a sacrifice that he's going to have to slum to go back to Earth now after the war. I think they could have extracted something a little more meaningful from him. I dunno, maybe:

You'll never marry again and won't have a blissful relationship (meaning he'd lose Cassidy).

Your life will be that much more difficult and you'll know more sorrow and pain as a result.

Bajor will never join the Federation. It will still know peace and prosperity, but it will never wave the Federation flag and that goal will go unachieved. As a result, you'll lose the respect you have earned in Starfleet.

Those are some options. I suppose it's implied that giving up living on Bajor is gonna cause his life to be less happy, but the writers did such a lousy job of building it up that it just seems trivial. Say for example, Data was involved and they told him their price was he would *never* reach his dream of becoming becoming human, that he would never get closer than he was, now *that* would be a penalty.

I think a much harsher penalty would have reduced the blow from the DEM intervention. As it is, it just seems too easy.
Paul M.
Thu, May 7, 2015, 10:33am (UTC -5)
@Yank: "There is only 2 battles in trek that I can remember that weren't "2 dimensional".

Kirk v Khan in TWOK and Riker making the vertical climb in AGT. The battle in Nemesis was epic and graceful, but still pretty 2 dimensional."

Kirk vs Chang in Star Trek VI can qualify. Remember the great scene where the Klingon torpedo goes right through Ent's hull from below?
Latex Zebra
Thu, May 7, 2015, 10:43am (UTC -5)
Secman: You might well be right that it was the episode before. If I recall they had been building up Sisko's love for Bajor over time. I could just be imagining shit though.

Again with the penalty... Does seem a little weird as you get the feeling at the end of DS( that it was always the Prophets wish that he would spend time (such is it is) with them. Him saying to Cassidy that he will be back takes the sting out of the penance because surely once back he can go to Bajor.

DS9 was an amazing series but I think it is guilty of the same as a lot of big series. They put things in that they end up forgetting about or contradicting later.
Thu, May 7, 2015, 4:22pm (UTC -5)
Paul M.

Good one. That's 3. :-)
Paul M.
Thu, May 7, 2015, 5:24pm (UTC -5)
It's a shame that Trek almost never depicted three-dimensional space combat. Seems the production crew, like Khan wasn't really all that smart, heh? ;) But yeah, those few instances when they did think of it looked phenomenal.
Fri, May 8, 2015, 7:10am (UTC -5)
@Latex Zebra - That was not the writing staff at all. It is fairly well documented that Avery Brooks, for good or for ill, did not want the black man to end the series leaving his pregnant wife and new child forever. Personally I LIKED the revised ending (especially the "maybe yesterday" bit... I felt it really showed him acting/thinking like a prophet). But that was not the writer's decision.
Fri, May 8, 2015, 3:16pm (UTC -5)
@ Robert. The ending of DS9 was a travesty. Just horrible.
Mon, May 11, 2015, 8:05am (UTC -5)
@Yanks - I meant that I like the line Avery had them add. When I said I liked the ending I was speaking of liking the revision.

Although I DO like the ending of DS9... just not all the parts. Each character has an ending really (which, when compared to TNG is quite interesting).

I assume you don't dislike ALL the endings of DS9... right?

::Spoilers I Guess::

Sisko becomes a prophet.
Kira becomes the head of DS9 and revisits her terrorist past helping her former oppressor.
O'Brien moves to Earth.
Bashir and Ezri start dating.
Worf shapes the future of the Klingon empire by killing Gowron and promoting Martok.
Odo finally rejoins his people.
Quark takes a last stand against Ferengi progress.

Not to mention minor characters get varied endings and we get a sweet scene in Vic's.

I assume you didn't hate ALL of those endings? The Sisko/Dukat ending has a lot of issues. I don't personally hate the prophet stuff the way that many do... but the most GENEROUS review you could give it is that it was a good idea that was very rushed and did a rather large disservice to Dukat's multi-faceted character.

But it was probably the weaker point of a pretty solid ending IMHO.
Mon, May 11, 2015, 7:05pm (UTC -5)
Hey Robert,

I know you've seen my WYLB comments.

I just think that blowing the Sisko character at the end kills everything. He could have defeated Dukat, returned to his family and completed his mission by getting Bajor into the Federation... but know, he's turned into a prophet, leaves Jake and his unborn son and wife, and Bajor is still, well Bajor. Run by religious idiots.

But know, we get a Star Fleet Captain turing into a god.

Mon, May 11, 2015, 8:19pm (UTC -5)
"no" .... eeesh.... :-)
Thu, May 14, 2015, 8:45am (UTC -5)
I'm drained. I've just watched Alaimo enact the end of King Lear when he's crying over his daughter at the end. By far the most dramatic thing in the episode. Made me completely forget the Wormhole alien fluff and contrived sabotage. Great acting and, for me, one of the best scenes I've seen in any Trek. Gul Dukat, one of the best villains I've ever seen.
Mon, Jun 29, 2015, 12:29pm (UTC -5)
This episode epitomizes the reasons why I love DS9. Not only is it entertaining from a plot/action standpoint - those battle scenes are AWESOME!!! They still hold up today effects-wise - DS9 easily had some of the best battle scenes in all of Trek, even rivaling the movies.

It also makes room for crackling intellectual dialogue - the scene where Dukat and Weyoun are in Sisko's office and talking about the philosophy of war is pure gold, best line going to Dukat: "A true victory is to make your enemies see they were wrong to oppose you in the first place. To force them to acknowledge your greatness!" Very 1984-ish, especially since from TNG's "Chain of Command" onward the Cardassians were essentially depicted as a spacefaring Orwellian society.

I just love how DS9 is able to almost effortlessly balance out the talking and the action.
Sun, Oct 11, 2015, 5:06am (UTC -5)
Technically, I don't think the Prophets vanishing the Dominion fleet is a Deus Ex Machina. The wormhole aliens were introduced in the very first episode and have played a role in various episodes. When I watched DS9 twenty years ago I didn't have them on my radar at all, but when I just now watched this whole arc with my 12-year-old daughter, the first thing she asked me was why the Prophets would allow the fleet to come through.

But I remember my reaction back then was similar to that of Bart Simpson to Lisa's reading of The Raven: "You know what would have been better than nothing? Anything!"
It feels like a major cop out to have the Dominion fleet just vanish.
And to do it just for The Sisko felt even more icky.

I at least expected his penance to be something costly. This is a stalwart of good fantasy: if you introduce magic, it must come at a price.
But no, as we will learn at the end of the show, the "penance" is that he'll become an immortal being living in the Celestial Temple. Wow. I hope somebody punishes me like that some day...

As for Odo's 180, I think it's in line with his character. As I've commented in the episode "Children of Time", it has now been firmly established that Odo is fanatically, desperately fixated on Kira. The Link seems to mellow him over not being able to be with her, initially.
But then the Female Changeling proclaims they will EXECUTE Kira.
THAT is the moment he is janked out of his ignorance-and-superiority-is-bliss state and confronted with reality.
Sun, Oct 11, 2015, 7:54am (UTC -5)

The Prophets didn't destroy the Dominion fleet for Sisko, they did it for Bajor. Sisko was just the one to convince them to do it.

And Sisko's penance seems costly enough, at least in my opinion. Yes, he may be living an immortal-like life in the Celestial Temple, but he's also deprived of that which he holds most dear - his family and Bajor itself. And besides, it's not like he's going to be living in some Quranic earthly paradise where all his sensual desires will be fulfilled. For all we know, he's going to be spending all his time in that all-white limbo. I'd rather not be punished like that, but that's just me. :P

In fact, Sisko's penance was originally planned for it to be that he straight up died in the Fire Caves and had to spend eternity with the Prophets in some kind of afterlife. However, Brooks himself was uncomfortable with that because he felt it had the subtext of a black man willfully abandoning his family, something he adamantly did not want to present as a good thing. So, it was reworked so the penance was watered down and Sisko might, maybe, come back at some unknown date in the future.
Wed, Oct 28, 2015, 3:30am (UTC -5)
I'm watching DS9 for the first time. Or at least I was watching it, but this is as far as I go. I just can't see how they are going to rescue this series now. First Children of Time, then a laborious 7-episode arc full of false promises and ending in a DEM. Oh dear.
Wed, Oct 28, 2015, 5:00am (UTC -5)
You can stop watching, but this wasn't a Deus Ex Machina. That happens when a writer paints themselves into a corner and needs to pull a rabbit out of a hat to save the day. You can think it's stupid but the point of the entire arc was to force Sisko into the confrontation with the prophets. We've been building up tip that story since the pilot and it will continue to pay off after. They didn't paint themselves into a corner. They could easily have stopped the mines from coming down and brought more of the fleet to DS9. They didn't want to. That scene in the wormhole was the entire point.
Jason R.
Wed, Nov 11, 2015, 12:15pm (UTC -5)
In response to some of the concerns about the number of ships shown in this episode relative to previous entries (eg: Best of Both Worlds) this is pretty easily explained. In Best of Both Worlds, the Federation was not in a state of war. It is only logical that their standing fleets would be relatively small in peace time.

Whereas by the time of this episode, the Federation was in a full scale war with the Dominion. No doubt their shipyards were in overdrive. If you compared the number of tanks the USA had fielded, say in World War 2, compared with today, I'm sure you'd see a similar disparity.

If anything, the thing that bugs me is not where Starfleet got all those ships, but where did they get Captains and crew to man them? Considering that one needs to be basically a genius to even get into Starfleet academy (consider Wesley Crusher failed his first time around, and he was a prodigy!!) I have to wonder at the quality of the Captains they needed to recruit to fill those hundreds of ships. They must have been promoting people like mad.
Fri, Dec 11, 2015, 5:55am (UTC -5)
On the Sisko gets the Prophets to destroy the Dominion fleet; I don't see this as a deus ex machina as others do, although I can understand why. The way I see it, the Prophets have literally controlled Sisko's life from day 1 (as we find out in Season 7, his mother was possessed by a Prophet when she met his father another mark from Prophets operating outside the wormhole btw) so they had him be born to be their Emissary. They had a vested interest in his life path and would it to continue. The show established the Prophets right from "Emissary" as these mysterious powerful beings so its not like they were invented just for this story, they are in integral part of the show.

On Federation fleets; the Borg only gave Starfleet days to prepare from the destruction of the New Providence colony to the assault at Wolf 359. It was mentioned several times that they'd expected much more lead time and had to cobble together 40 ships in a few days, probably the closest ships to Earth at the time. I assumed Starfleet had many more ships exploring the far reaches of the Federation that couldn't make it back in time such as the Phoenix that was seen only a year later. Whereas for the Dominion War, Starfleet knew it was coming for several years, plus their rebuilding/expansion after both Borg attacks would have seen them much more prepared and able to assembled large fleets. Although why none of them appeared to have shields up during the various battles is another question....
Fri, Dec 11, 2015, 11:20am (UTC -5)
The complaints of a Deus Ex Machina are valid for this episode. No where earlier in the show, let alone this episode, showed that the prophets were capable or even willing to interfere with whole fleets of ships. Yes, they've spit out orbs and given people visions; I think they teleported Jadzia in Emissary. But they performed no mircacles to the level shown here.

It also makes you wonder why the prophets wouldn't have pulled the same trick to protect the Bajorans from fleets of Cardassians leading up to the occupation. What this all some master plan? I'm not sure the prophets' actions hold up to any level of scrutiny.

I really think they wanted to end this episode in some sort of confrontation with Sisko's methods and Dukats, but the ending feels like a shortcut cheat. They could've had the Bajorans motivated by Sisko's actions and cast off the Dominion (with perhaps just a little encouragement by the prophets.

I guess you could say this episode ties with the ending, but the ending is a unsatisfactory precisely because it dodges a lot of story elements by making every problem vanish into thin air, just like in this episode.
Fri, Dec 11, 2015, 2:12pm (UTC -5)
@Chrome - They moved Akorem's ship into the future. The current Star Trek Online video game proposes that they did the same thing with this fleet (which shows up again in the future). It's totally reasonably within the Prophets well established abilities to time shift stuff that is in the wormhole.

"It also makes you wonder why the prophets wouldn't have pulled the same trick to protect the Bajorans from fleets of Cardassians leading up to the occupation."

I presume it only works with ships that are, you know, actually IN the wormhole.

I personally felt it was not a deus ex machina because there were so many plausible ways to end it that the writers clearly WANTED to do it this way. It didn't feel like they wrote themselves into a corner.

That's just my 2 cents.
Mon, Dec 14, 2015, 1:09pm (UTC -5)
@Robert - Moving a single ship in the future still isn't comparable to evaporating an entire fleet. The prophets clearly showed they had limitless power in this episode only. They could have foreshadowed a fleet disappearing by having records in Bajoran history of a similar event, they could've given Sisko a sign that he needed to go see the prophets at that moment, or they could've done something simpler like repel the fleet and spit them back into the gamma quadrant.

The problem is, there was no foreshadowing for the fleet's disappearance. If you were just getting into this series and started with this arc, you'd be pulling your hair out by the overpowered cheat the prophets perform in this ending. There are a hundred ways they could've ended this, and yes, they intentionally decided to suddenly give the prophets galactic warfare powers. It's such a waste.

As for not helping out during the Occupation, fair enough, their overpowered shenanigans only work inside the wormhole. It's still unclear what changes they can or can't affect outside their little hidey-hole.
Fri, Jan 1, 2016, 8:20pm (UTC -5)
Chrome: I watched this show back in the 90's and I really LOVE DS9 and I will tell you I am still clueless as to the whys of the show. I always felt the prophets needed Sisko to form a bridge between Bajor and them. They seemed not to understand people and their needs. It took Sisko to help them understand that Bajor was going to be destroyed if they didn't intervene and he was willing to die to try and protect them. They probably looked into the distant future and saw Sisko with them and left it at that. These super beings were not practical but made for good conversation and speculation.

I have another thought, if they can create a stable wormhole, then they can perform fantastic feats outside of the wormhole. They are kind of stupid.
Jason R.
Thu, Jan 7, 2016, 10:49am (UTC -5)
Was it a deus ex machina? Well, yes, literally so. The Prophets, who are essentially Gods (Deus) literally used their wormhole (machina) to destroy the Dominion fleet :)

The real question is was it good storytelling?

I personally thought it was. I have no trouble believing that the prophets would be capable of pretty well anything within the confines of their own wormhole. For a race that exists outside linear time, that literally constructed the wormhole, getting rid of a fleet located within that wormhole seems within their power. Note that they had previously demonstrated their ability to collapse said wormhole on a whim.

It wasn't a perfect resolution for me. There are alot of continuity problems with the Prophets, which I think stem from the fact that they obviously changed alot from Season 1, and much of their behaviour and objectives early in the series seems inconsistent with what we learn later in the series.
Diamond Dave
Sun, Jan 31, 2016, 8:12am (UTC -5)
OK, so there are some major contrivances here - the Defiant being the sole ship to break through, the arrival of the Klingons, the intervention of the Prophets. But actually I have no problem with the last one - it's not like Sisko is anticipating their intervention by entering the wormhole. That the intervention is supported by previous plotting suggests to me we're on safe ground in taking that route - Sisko's “You want to be gods, then be gods” nails the issue.

I also loved Quark's prison break and the fact we didn't get the contrivance of last-minute stopping the minefield destruction. But on the debit side it seemed Dukat was coming unglued even before Ziyal's death, which while justified in the end seemed a bit odd character-wise earlier. And as other's have mentioned, Odo's sudden return to the fold does come a little out of nowhere, although I suppose that at least the reasons why had been well established previously.

And I'm glad to say that finally we get a full fleet FX show, and isn't it stunning. Beautiful, beautiful stuff. The Klingons diving out of the sun is a guaranteed money shot.

Finally, I think this probably made me laugh more than any line since "I am not a merry man" - "You don't have anything to hide, do you? You certainly don't." 3.5 stars.
Tue, Feb 2, 2016, 6:15pm (UTC -5)
Without a scene of the dominion fleet just rematerialing somewhere in the gamma quadrant, this episode is about as satisfying as a wet fart. They could have simply appeared by the rouge planet of the founders and have made an immensely more satisfying episode.
Jason R.
Thu, Feb 18, 2016, 1:36pm (UTC -5)
"Without a scene of the dominion fleet just rematerialing somewhere in the gamma quadrant, this episode is about as satisfying as a wet fart. They could have simply appeared by the rouge planet of the founders and have made an immensely more satisfying episode."

Why? Sisko didn't care where the Prophets sent the Dominion fleet, nor would the audience. Since transporting a fleet of 4,000 ships into another part of the galaxy is no less a feat than simply vaporizing them (or sending them to Disneyland for that matter) it hardly impacts the plot. Gone is gone.
Thu, Feb 18, 2016, 2:47pm (UTC -5)
The prophets sent them to the Delta Quadrant to go keep Voyager company.
Latex Zebra
Fri, Feb 19, 2016, 3:57am (UTC -5)
I find it much more satisfying as an ending that they just vanish.
The assumption, on my part anyway, being that The Prophets are that powerful they just eradicated that many ships without breaking a sweat or having any morality issues.

It's kind of dark really.
Mon, Apr 11, 2016, 5:01am (UTC -5)
Bit late to the party, but... I'm on the 4 stars side of things.

Regarding space combat tactics: the 3D nature of space combat tends to be somewhat overhyped compared to 2D combat on Earth. In reality, the tactics are very much the same - in a fleet battle, you want to maximize local firepower at the point of contact. In the Age of Sail, that often meant crossing the T - in space, that might mean you have an angled-disk formation passing by an enemy's corner. It also might mean you have a concentrated small force charge through the center of a spread out large force, as happens in this episode - and is a tactic that has won real world battles as well. We're simply not given enough information regarding the relative fleet deployments to be able to tell whether or not this was a good tactical call, though it would seem that without a timely Klingon intervention it would have failed - so perhaps Sisko screwed up but got lucky.

But it is worth keeping in mind that sometimes the good calls in battle go wrong too - doing everything right doesn't always mean you'll win. It could be that Sisko was presented with a choice - attempt to go around the Dominion fleet, which might have worked but would have almost certainly taken far too much time to prevent the minefield from coming down (though the 2x larger defending force in the way would be able to reposition even more easily to still block you - this would only work if you had stealth capabilities, which the Federation does not), or attempt to pierce it despite the bad odds of success in the hopes that MAYBE the minefield could be kept up (and they don't even get there in time as it is). It's easy to stand back and try to later say one choice is the right one - it's very different to be the guy on the spot. I think Sisko made the right call - even a few minutes longer would've guaranteed absolute failure, as the Dominion fleet would've made it through the wormhole before the Defiant arrived, and would've been safe on the Alpha side from the Prophets' intervention.
Tue, May 10, 2016, 8:00pm (UTC -5)
Dukat's descent into madness after losing Ziyal is the most emotional moment in all of Trek. It kind of overshadows the rest of the episode for me. I still tear up upon rewatching it.

The only other instance in Trek that had anywhere as close to this much impact on me is the very end of "The Thaw" on Voyager. Different emotions, of course.
William B
Tue, May 24, 2016, 10:29am (UTC -5)
I'm not ready to write about WYLB yet so I'm jumping back here. For what it's worth, I'm on the side of Jammer's original review (I know he's said that he would bump it up to 4 now) and say about 3 stars. Anyway, I just wanted to respond to the point some have made that the Prophets entrance wasn't a Deus Ex Machina because the writers didn't actually write themselves into the corner -- they clearly had the option of having Rom deactivate the power before the minefield was destroyed, and thus avoid the whole Prophet intervention. And this is true to an extent and a good point. Certainly I think the writers did want to go where they did with the Prophet intervention. That said, I don't agree that the writers could have easily ran with Rom turning off the station power and the minefield remaining in place. For this episode in particular, yes they could have had the Federation alliance fleet retake the station, but at that point Weyoun et al. would flee the station...and then try to retake it, and try to retake it, and so on. As long as the Dominion fleet was waiting on the other side of the wormhole, the Dominion-Cardassian alliance would try to retake the station and the whole series would become about defending the station (and that minefield), especially now that a way of destroying the mines was known. That might be interesting but it would remove some of the satisfaction of this ending knowing that DS9 was still THE number one target and could be retaken at any time, and once it was ALL IS LOST. Here, Sisko's plea to the Prophets turns the temporary tech minefield into a permanent Wormhole Alien minefield which has the same function, but which is apparently impossible for the Dominion to take down, except maybe through destroying the Prophets (see "Tears of the Prophets"). That isn't necessarily to say that the Prophet intervention was the "wrong" story choice -- I think it may have been for other reasons -- but it was one that the writers sort of had to do if they didn't want to have the Gamma Quadrant fleet and the need of the Dominion to retake the station as a permanent shadow over the series.
Peter G.
Tue, May 24, 2016, 11:56am (UTC -5)
@ William B, to add to your comment, not only was the intervention a legitimate writing choice, it was a necessary one because it was about time that certain biased preconceptions were slapped right in the face.

Both Starfleet and the Cardassians had habitually viewed the prophets as being at best some weird aliens, and at worst a myth not worth taking seriously. This might have been warranted before discovering the wormhole, but after realizing that an advanced race actually designed and maintained an artificial wormhole and could see the future only a fool would fail to take them seriously. Since the prophets were the subject of a 'primitive religion' I think both powers were fooled into being fools. It's quite pathetic that the only non-Bajoran who took the prophets seriously in terms of being a power was Zek.

And then there is the matter of the writing team, supposedly under the thumb of Pillar and Berman to keep the religious stuff about the prophets to a minimum. Well they could have written sci-fi stuff about them instead, but I guess they decided to stay away for the greater part of a few seasons instead. Even the viewer was probably tempted to ignore the prophets as a power and to treat them as a weird story element instead that recurs every now and then.

After this episode no one (audience, writers, Cardassians, Dominion or Federation) would be able to take the wormhole aliens lightly again.
Tue, May 24, 2016, 12:32pm (UTC -5)
@Peter G. and William B.

It's still odd that after this episode, there will still people who doubted the existence of the prophets, or doubted their powers when this episode basically makes them scientific fact. William B. actually made a really good critique of this on his comment on "Covenant" the other day.

And even the faithful sound off talking about faith after this episode. Kira can't claim she's acting solely on faith; the "miracles" are right in front of everyone's faces. The Klingons can even plan meticulous plots using the Founder's miracles with a high degree of certainty (See "Trials and Tribulations").
Thu, May 26, 2016, 2:00am (UTC -5)
Yes, yes, yes - I am fully well aware of all the problems in this episode. Yes, the Defiant being the only Federation ship to break through the Dominion's lines for several hours was insanely contrived. Yes, I too wonder why Kira and Rom focused on disabling the stations weapons when there were other Dominion ships nearby. Yes, it was weird that the Female Changeling seemed to know that Odo would betray her and yet didn't tell anyone. Yes, the Klingons showing up in the nick of time was also very, very contrived. But you know what? I really don't give a damn about any of that. Because "Sacrifice of Angels" grabbed me hook, line and sinker from beginning to end with its story, action and characters. If I may tell a personal story for a moment.... When I introduced my parents to "Deep Space Nine" a couple of years ago and we got to this episode, my father was literally sitting on the edge of the couch when the minefield was detonated. He was quite honestly that engrossed in the story. Given that he's not a very sci-fi kind of guy, that says all I need to know about how awesome this episode is!

Let's just get to the biggest controversy with the episode, shall we? You all know which one I'm talking about - the intervention of the Prophets. I can understand why there is a rather vocal subset of Trek fans that absolutely hate this. It does indeed come across as something of an anti-climax after the previous episodes. Also, average Trek fans tend to be left-leaning agnostics/atheists (I don't think that's a very controversial thing to point out), so it's really not surprising that they would be uncomfortable with a divine intervention being what ultimately saves the day. But I think calling the ending a "cop-out" or a "deus ex machina" completely misses the point of the whole story. What the writers are doing here is very deliberate, not a sign of incompetence or of painting themselves into a corner and needing "heavenly" assistance to get out of it. I think their intentions are made extremely clear throughout the arc. Sisko giving his speech in front of the Bajoran shrine in "Call to Arms", Ziyal reminding the audience that Sisko is the Emissary in "Sons and Daughters", Sisko reading ancient Bajoran texts on the eve of battle in "Favor the Bold" and Sisko's stated desire to Ross to build a house on Bajor - all of that points to how the writers were foreshadowing the role of the Prophets in resolving the story. In fact, I think "Call to Arms", "Favor the Bold" and this episode make it clear that the writers are trying to make Sisko into something like a Bajoran version of Moses, someone who stands as an intermediary between mortals and the gods (that's not really surprising as the writers will later employ much more direct comparisons to biblical figures like Abraham and Jesus for Sisko). Now, you can like that or you can hate it. You can think its bad storytelling if you wish. But, you can't call it a deus ex machina, because it simply isn't one. In fact, in my opinion, given how heavily we're reminded in this arc that the Founders portray themselves as gods, it's only fitting that they should ultimately be thwarted by the "real" gods of Bajor. Like I said, I can understand why atheistic fans absolutely hate it, but as a theistic Trek fan, this is something I absolutely love!

As for the rest of the episode, the real standout scene is when Quark and Ziyal break the resistance cell out of jail. I've often criticized "Deep Space Nine" for it use and treatment of Quark, but this was phenomenally good! If only the character could be treated like this all the time. And, given how if the jail break had never happened, Rom wouldn't have been able to shut the weapons down and the Defiant would have been destroyed, that means the entire Alpha Quadrant owes its very survival to Quark!

The action sequences and special effects are indeed absolutely stunning. This is easily the best action episode Trek has given us thus far, possibly will ever give us. The music is wonderful, not quite as memorable as the score for "The Best of Both Worlds" but it's up there. The storytelling is top-notch. What more could I ask for in an episode?!

Latex Zebra
Thu, May 26, 2016, 2:54am (UTC -5)
I do laugh that people get stressed by the godlike behavior of the prophets... who are aliens, not gods. But never bat an eyelid when Q freezes time, makes people vanish, flings things across the galaxy, sends Voyager back to the creation of the cosmos!
Thu, May 26, 2016, 9:17am (UTC -5)
Q actually claims to be God in "Hide and Q" and also in "Tapestry". I think the Prophets and Q's powers are similar, it's just that, opposed to the Prophets, we see Q actively tormenting a lot more than helping.
Thu, Jul 28, 2016, 10:10pm (UTC -5)
I watched DS9 weekly from its debut until maybe 3/4 of the way through season 5, when I left the country for a few years. Upon my return, not having come across any spoilers for the episodes I missed (would be hard to do now!), I watched the daily repeats in syndication from beginning to end.

So I had the whole series relatively fresh on my mind when I first saw this episode. Maybe that's why I'm apparently one of the few on this thread who expected the wormhole aliens to intervene at the peak of this episode. Once the minefield came down and the Dominion fleet entered their side of the wormhole, I remember thinking Sisko's only chance was a direct plea to them. Furthermore, if they were ever going to directly intervene in the affairs of Bajor, this had to be the time. Indeed, it's a flaw in the script that the dialogue seems to indicate that Sisko is surprised when they show up, as there is no way the man who has had a 5+ year-long ambivalent relationship with his "emissary" role doesn't think of the "prophets" every time he sees that wormhole. One might argue that Sisko thought that mostly ignoring them would more strongly communicate to the aliens that he would give his life if they didn't intervene; if so, I think there would be better ways to write that.

So, I reject the complaint that this "comes out of nowhere" or is a "deux ex machina". Though there is still much story to tell, this episode is the climax of the entire series, not just this short run of episodes; the beings in the wormhole were there in the first episode and are a regular presence in the series. Luke above points out some specific times they reminded the viewers of the prophets within the occupation storyline. The intervention of the aliens is well set up by the series.

The other big, related, complaint about this episode (one they pretty much apply to the whole series) is that people dislike the wormhole aliens because they believe having them somehow promotes religion. As an atheist, I think that's crazy. Yes, these beings are powerful and mysterious (not a new thing in Star Trek). If you're making a universe with real people (even people represented by aliens), it makes sense that some people would worship them as gods. But: 1) that doesn't make them actual gods and 2) that also doesn't make them automatically evil (which was often the case in previous Trek). Many of the complainers seem to think if the wormhole aliens aren't discredited in some way that makes them actual gods, and that means the show supports religion.

The "prophets" are an interesting science fiction idea...powerful aliens that mostly ignore the less powerful, but have some affection for them that makes them occasionally intervene. In many ways they are like the crews of the Enterprises in TNG & (especially) TOS: powerful "aliens" with a (prime) directive of non-interference with "primitives", that they just can't help but ignore at times to do "what's right" (yes, I'm aware I'm using a ridiculous amount of quotes). Just like the TNG & TOS crews, sometimes when they do and don't interfere seems arbitrary. But, from everything we knew about them, this seems like the one time they would absolutely interfere.

I don't think this episode is without flaws; the discussion with the aliens should be slightly rewritten, and their are other items that have been mentioned by previous commenters. Still, I find the episode satisfying and have no problem with giving it 4 stars.
Fri, Sep 9, 2016, 5:45pm (UTC -5)
The last episode of Season 6 to put it simply sucked bit time. I watched the series faithfully and enjoyed it until the totally contrived ending. Why many here accept the obvious failure of the writers to come up with a compelling and interesting solution to the corner that they had backed themselves into is beyond me. Not sure if I will watch the next season. It is obvious that the reason why there was not Season 8 was because there was a complete breakdown. Something happened, I suspect that there was a mass exodus because someone at Corporate let it slip that there was only going to be one more season.
Sat, Oct 1, 2016, 11:14pm (UTC -5)
There was not a season 8 because the plan was never to take any trek series past 7... that was always their magic number until Enterprise tanked and they shut it down early (they planned for it to go 7 as well).

You are harsh on the series, ok, can't please everyone. However, the last half of season 7 is some of the best and most compelling storytelling in TV. They didn't wrap it up because it sucked.
Fri, Nov 11, 2016, 8:30am (UTC -5)
How can you have "lines of ships" in space? The whole episode treated it like running a naval blockade. You can travel up and down to... y'know.
Sun, Nov 13, 2016, 7:03pm (UTC -5)
@ Rob:

To the writers, there is no Z-axis!
David Pirtle
Thu, Dec 8, 2016, 1:11pm (UTC -5)
Odd that your biggest complaints about this episode are the contrivances, but the contrivance of the Prophets simply making the invading fleet disappear you're not just OK with, but actually like.
William H
Tue, Dec 13, 2016, 8:53am (UTC -5)
I don't think the Prophets intervention is terrible, indeed in many ways it makes sense, but it could have done with some more build up. Like, if they spread out Sisko's argument with the Prophets over the whole episode it could have been better perhaps.

It bugs me that Sisko seems to be acting as commander of this big fleet. He's still just a Captain
Thu, Dec 29, 2016, 7:19pm (UTC -5)
"By the way—gaping plot hole of the week: What about all those Dominion ships around the station?"

Presuambly they were sent to participate in the enormous battle that the Defiant had just slipped away from.
Mon, Jan 16, 2017, 4:47am (UTC -5)
Dear god, so many here defending that terrible deus ex machina. Whether you like or not, it is one. And even if it weren't, it's still LAZY writing. There's no valid defence for it.

At no point from here to the end can we take any threat seriously, because the magic aliens can wish it all away. And, listen up, kids: that's why good writers avoid deus ex machinas. Because it's toddler writing that wrecks tension.
Mon, Jan 23, 2017, 10:46am (UTC -5)
No, it isn't. A deus ex machina, by definition, is something that comes out of nowhere to save our heroes, like the eagles in Lord of the Rings. This isn't the case with the wormhole aliens. They were shown to intervene on Bajor's behalf in "Rapture" (which does contradict how they were set up in "Emissary", but that doesn't take away from this episode), in which they deliberately stopped Bajor from entering the Federation, because they knew once the war started, Bajor would be the first target. Here, they just needed a little convincing. And it does have consequences, as the 'penance' that Sisko must pay, is not being able to live on Bajor with Kasidy. It was certainly deliberate, as like many have stated, they could have easily have had Rom take down the weapons in time, and there would be another massive battle. It could have been handled better in both the setup and the follow-up, but it isn't a deus ex machina, nor is it lazy.
Jason R.
Mon, Jan 23, 2017, 11:25am (UTC -5)
Dlpb, it was their wormhole! They constructed it. This fact was established right in season 1 in the very first episode.

That the aliens would be capable of destroying (or disappearing) a fleet passing through their wormhole is hardly shocking. It's actually kind of obvious when you stop and think about it.

This goes to Peter's earlier point about how everyone, including the Federation, had conveniently forgotten about the Prophets or written them off as some kind of quaint religious myth when in fact the truth was right there to be seen. The major powers arrogantly thought the wormhole was theirs to use as they saw fit - forgetting who built it and on whose suffrance they used it.

The solution in this episode kind of blindsides the viewer which is good as far as I am concerned.
Paul Allen
Wed, Jan 25, 2017, 6:17pm (UTC -5)
How on earth could you give this less than four stars? God, emotional roller coaster of what! At the end when they're all slappin each other on the back is such a wonderflu high, and then immediately Garek is frantically seeking Ziyal, my heart leapt into the pit. :(
Alligator Creek
Sat, Jan 28, 2017, 2:29am (UTC -5)
While I greatly enjoyed this arc here are three points that bothered me

1) As Tim mentioned, why is a Captain leading the fleet?

2) in earlier episodes, it seems Dukat has become the leader of Cardassia so why is he stationed on DS9

3) I felt that the female changling stating that Odo is more important than the entire war is an import point. It shows how unimportant the Cardasians are to them. However, if this is true, why are you they risking changling lives by actively participating in the war impersonating people. Several of them have died during the war.

One other thought. It would have been likely that the fleet of 3000 ships on the other side of the wormhole would have included some changlings. I believe the female changling's reaction to the vanishing of the fleet would have been of greater concern that some changlings had also vanished.
Sat, Jan 28, 2017, 11:40am (UTC -5)
So much declaiming in the middle of battles.

"Computer, locate Kira Norees" should have put an end to the sabotage pretty quickly.

I was not crazy (get it?) abut Dukat's breakdown. Didn't he say once he had nine kids on Cardassia? Nothing in his character up to now indicates he would sacrifice everything for Ziyal.

It's interesting how similar the wormhole aliens are to the founders in their sense of superiority and that they know what is best for everyone and (sort of spoiler) the lengths they will go to to bring one of their own back to the fold.

I didn't mind the interference of the wormhole aliens. It brought in the larger arc, not of the season but of the entire show.
Sun, Jan 29, 2017, 4:35am (UTC -5)
Loved the arc, but there should have been more signs of lasting consequences from Sisko and co's actions during the last few episodes. Just a couple of lines here and there would have made a difference, for instance:
"Our Torros III shipyards are still being rebuilt, so we're a bit short on ships right now" or
"Our supply lines in sector 4747 are stretched thanks to Sisko blowing up our ketracel-white facility" or
"Thanks to the Defiant blowing up our sensor array we've lost track of the 5th fleet"
Sun, Mar 19, 2017, 12:03pm (UTC -5)
So what was Sisko's plan exactly up to the point where he thought, "Huh, I'll just ask the wormhole aliens?"

Unless that was his plan all along once they were the only ones to break through the lines? I guess that makes more sense. The Emissary thing had to pay off at some point, I guess.

Good episode nonetheless, but weird.
Sun, Mar 19, 2017, 12:08pm (UTC -5)
Also... how do you get 'warp signatures in a wormhole? Careless writing.
Jason R.
Sun, Mar 19, 2017, 1:50pm (UTC -5)
"So what was Sisko's plan exactly up to the point where he thought, "Huh, I'll just ask the wormhole aliens?"

Unless that was his plan all along once they were the only ones to break through the lines? I guess that makes more sense. The Emissary thing had to pay off at some point, I guess. "

I don't get the sense that it occurred to Sisko on a conscious level to call out to the wormhole aliens for help. Indeed, quite the opposite - when they take him from the Defiant he angrily decries their interference in his affairs and only grudgingly asks their assistance as an alternative to his death.

Of course what we're left with is the presumption that Sisko actually intended to confront a Dominion fleet with just the Defiant - kind of crazy, even accepting that the Federation would very likely lose the war once that fleet came through.

It's kind of ironic that Sisko too seems to have dismissed or simply forgotten about the prophets in all this. As Dukat was casually dismissing the Defiant as it approached the wormhole, I wanted to yell out to him "remember the last time you were in the wormhole what happened?!!". You'd think that Dukat, of all people, would remember his ship getting stranded in the Delta Quadrant after the Prophets shut down the wormhole the first time in Emissary!

"Also... how do you get 'warp signatures in a wormhole? Careless writing."

I could be wrong, but I don't think a ship needs to be travelling at warp speed in order to have a "warp signature". I presume this refers to the warp core itself, which we know to be the only component on 24th century ships powered by antimatter (at least on Federation ships).
Sun, Mar 19, 2017, 2:50pm (UTC -5)
For those wondering why Sisko is leading the fleet--there used to be a rank above captain for times of war. It was Commodor. A commodor was in the field, a rank below admiral. They commanded battle wings. It can be assumed that Sisko is filling this role within Star Fleet in a time of war.
Sun, Mar 19, 2017, 2:56pm (UTC -5)
Jason R.,

Yeah, imo, unless we assume that Sisko subconsciously knew that the wormhole aliens would help, his flight to the wormhole is just desperation and a bit crazy. I think it's possible he knew they would help since, you know.... his origins. But it's just speculation. The cannon is very murky on all of this.

"I could be wrong, but I don't think a ship needs to be travelling at warp speed in order to have a "warp signature."

Yeah, I think you're right about that. Makes sense.
Peter G.
Sun, Mar 19, 2017, 3:09pm (UTC -5)
Consider the possibility that Sisko had lost all hope by the time he entered the wormhole and his decision to attack the enemy fleet alone was simply an intentional suicide run rather than be captured by the Dominion. The reason the prophets interrupted wasn't to 'help' Sisko win but rather because he had decided to die and they still had plans for him. You will note that they accuse him of deciding to "end the game", which of course means they foresee his decision to die.
Jason R.
Sun, Mar 19, 2017, 7:39pm (UTC -5)
"Consider the possibility that Sisko had lost all hope by the time he entered the wormhole and his decision to attack the enemy fleet alone was simply an intentional suicide run rather than be captured by the Dominion. The reason the prophets interrupted wasn't to 'help' Sisko win but rather because he had decided to die and they still had plans for him. You will note that they accuse him of deciding to "end the game", which of course means they foresee his decision to die."

That is of course the most likely explanation of his actions, given the dialogue. My problem though is that this makes Sisko something of a nutcase when you think about it. Even against 4,000 Dominion ships, the Federation has not actually lost the war - so why would Sisko, a Starfleet captain, needlessly blow up his own ship? He's really going to throw away his ship and his crew in some futile suicide run on a Dominion armada before the war / invasion has even started?! WTF?

This would be akin to Riker or Picard ordering a suicide run on the Borg Cube in BOBW right at the start of the episode (instead of at the end of Part 2, with the Cube already hovering over earth).

In fact, having just watched the Doomsday Machine, I'd suggest that Sisko intentionally sacrificing his own ship is not unlike Commodore Decker choosing to Kamikazi his shuttle against the doomsday machine - crazy.
Peter G.
Mon, Mar 20, 2017, 12:45am (UTC -5)
@ Jason R.,

I got the distinct impression from the episodes leading up to this one, and especially from this one, that the moment the mine field came down the war was instantly over, period end of story. The allied forces could barely hold their own against the Cardassians and Dominion fleets already in the Alpha Quadrant. If thousands of ships came through the wormhole it would likely have led to a swift surrender after they trampled through a few key Federation and Klingon worlds.

I do think this could have been stated a bit more clearly from Starfleet's side, but from the 'DS9 underground' side they do make it fairly clear that everything was riding on the minefield staying up long enough for the Federation to retake DS9. Once the minefield came down AND the Defiant got there too late to stop it, the game was simply over. In Sisko's position I could certainly sympathize with a realization of "it's all over" when realizing that in a few short moments the Federation forces were about to be vastly outnumbered. Regrouping with the fleet would have done nothing, and Sisko may have even seen it as his own failure that it even got that far in the first place. Committing suicide via kamikaze attack might be 'irrational' but I wouldn't at all call it insane. Sisko's life was effectively over either way, and perhaps more importantly, he was never going to be able to save Bajor from the Dominion. Suicide at that point wouldn't have been jumping the gun; the war was lost the moment the minefield came down - except for the intervention of the Prophets.
Mon, Mar 20, 2017, 12:27pm (UTC -5)
Darren above mentioned this earlier, but the real problem with Sisko's decision to enter the wormhole (as crazy as that was) is that he never considered blowing up the wormhole. I suppose that the actions of !FakeBashir in "By Inferno's Light" may have strengthened the wormhole so that even Quantum torpedos couldn't destroy it anymore, but this should've been addressed in dialogue.

At the very least, having some sort of firefight inside the wormhole like Sisko planned should have disrupted its stability to the point where the Prophets would need to intervene out of self-preservation.

I suppose these missing details keeps this episode at 3 stars. Great action, good drama, weird ending.
Sat, Apr 8, 2017, 11:36pm (UTC -5)
I have mixed feelings about this episode. Production values were grand, but the writing not as much.

You asked about the ships surrounding DS9, and that's a huge plot hole. Best I can think is that they sent those ships to the battle (I can't recall if we see the ships around the station after the battle begins). It's the only explanation for why the occupiers lost all hope as soon as the weapons are down. Otherwise there'd be a fleet to fire on the Defiant, That said, there have to be some ships out there to carry the dominion forces off the station. Confusing.

I have always had huge issues accepting a giant space battle as a means of "blockading" space. Space is huge and three-dimensional. I have a hard time believing the logic of the battle shown here. Ships should have been travelling to DS9 at warp and we've never seen ships able to "block" warping ships. They should also have been able to warp away from the battle and head for DS9. I agree it's awfully convenient that the Defiant was the only ship that got through.

I did appreciate that they DIDN'T stop the weapons in time. I did appreciate that that the Deus Ex Machina came as a result of a logical discussion with the prophets rather than just random, but it is still just too easy.

Throughout this plot, I had a big issue with the resistance meetings. When you're wearing com badges and living in a society where sensors log where everyone is, it's not the same to have a "private meeting" in someone's quarters. After Rom was caught sabotaging the station, they should have easily been able to backtrack the sensors and find out who he'd been talking to for the past few weeks.

Then Kira and Ziyal plea for Rom's release. Somehow that doesn't set off huge red flags of them working with Rom (at least Kira has the cover of pleading on behalf of his bajoran wife, but why on Earth is Ziyal asking? Red flag).

I know you commend Dukat's breakdown, but I found the acting about 20% over the top - especially in his initial response and his wandering the promenade smashing counters.
Fri, Apr 21, 2017, 8:30pm (UTC -5)
Surprisingly, since Dukat has been such an arrogant villain in the last few episodes, I was moved to tears over his grief for Ziyal, and then to see Garak's desperate searching amongst all the happy reunions...powerful stuff.
Fri, May 19, 2017, 8:23pm (UTC -5)
I don't think wormhole aliens are deus ex machina. They are also much less powerful than Q. In this episode, their "power" is actually quite easy to explain: they changed the wormhole to shift Jam-Hadar ships to another time. Assuming the wormhole is a bridge, the aliens just built a branch, that's it. Since they can build wormhole, they can certainly change it. It is just a small step for them.

Of course, this "small step" is a huge help for the alpha quadrant. The wormhole is sealed, and no more Dominion reinforcement can arrive.
Fri, Jul 14, 2017, 10:37pm (UTC -5)
I always wonder about the Star Trek attack patterns. At the end of "Favor the Bold," Sisko commands the huge attack fleet to assume attack pattern Delta 2. Is this the attack pattern where they all clump together so they can be easily fired upon and run into teach other? Star Trek battles never made much sense to me anyway. These are ships that can travel at warp 9 point something. Surely it's harder to successfully fire at a ship doing warp 9. But they always slow to impulse and fight rather than just fly past the enemy fleet and make them chase.
Thu, Aug 17, 2017, 5:28pm (UTC -5)
3.5 stars!

Ira and Hans are DS9's two best writers. Granted they wrote some crap mostly comedies and romance. But when they did a Dominion War story they hit it out of the park with clever plotting, welcomed details, smart villains with smart behavior, and did daring unpredictable things

This episode, for the First 50 minutes, was another worthy script of theirs

The way the episode starts out with the battle with exciting ebbs and flows creating a riveting rhythm. The tactics sounded plausible. Like in "Call to Arms" the action was easy to follow. The epic scale of all those ships in a massive battle was awe-inspiring sight to behold

The action back on the station was just as riveting. Nana Visitor shined. Kira has all this on her shoulders and we see her never stopping. She goes to the Bajoran government then with Quark she tries to reach Odo then to Weyoun then to Ziyal to try to save Rom who put his neck out and she feels responsible. Then she still has to worry about the minefield and not willing to put anyone else in jeopardy volunteers to plant the bomb herself. She looks so worn down yet she carries on. And if that wasn't enough she has to put up with Damar's pettiness.

The Dukat/Weyoun scene with them discussing post war plans and the comment about A prize as large as the Federation needing massive troops and if There was a resistance it would begin on Earth... Was all fascinating to me

quark and ziyal freeing the prisoners was a stand up and cheer moment followed by his paralysis was all good
Rom deactivating the weapons a second too late was great!

But there were some things I didn't much like
It would have been more realistic had the defiant not been the only Federation ship to break through the lines. I didn't like that

Also They had me up until the cop out of the Prophets making the Dominion fleet vanish. That's like having Q stop the Borg in the best of both worlds by making the cube go poof! Heck even ENTERPRISE didn't have Daniels save a Earth from the Xindi. I was expecting more from these writers. More shocking and compelling developments like they had done before. I don't care or buy into the idea there was an unspoken edict that you couldn't have the Federation lose to some degree and have a slight if temporary setback

Finally the much death of Ziyal did nothing for me. Ziyal wasn't a very interesting character and her death was too safe so that the show could say it killed off somebody without it being someone in the main cast
Thu, Aug 17, 2017, 5:29pm (UTC -5)
Another thing I didn't care for was Odo's change of heart. They should have had him rejoin the Great Lonk and return to Cardassia when the Dominion left the station.
Mon, Aug 28, 2017, 10:12pm (UTC -5)
I was kind of surprised to see all the mixed reviews of this episode here because I had always considered it a clear four star episode and one of the highlights of the series. On first viewing the end did seem somewhat out of nowhere, but like Jammer, the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. Having Rom deactivate the weapons one second earlier and save the day would have been the easy way to end it, not what they actually chose to do. On Memory Alpha there is a quote from Ira Steve Behr about the end, saying "Hearing people refer to it as some dopey deus ex machina is really annoying because I would think they'd give us more credit for being on the ball. We didn't have to end it like that, we chose to end it like that. Because we wanted to say that there was something going on here."

I thought this episode was great when it came out but it makes even more sense when you think about the ending of the series. (SPOILERS) A true deus ex machina ending would have no consequences, but here they say "the Sisko is of Bajor but he will find no rest there" and establish that the price to be paid for saving the federation will be a heavy one. The fact that Sisko grows to love Bajor but then does not get to retire there, and leaves behind Jake, Kassidy, and his unborn child, it's not a happy ending at all, but it's a brave one that flows directly from the setup in this episode. I really like the point David made about the Visitor and how Sisko's departure parallels that.

I thought this held up well on repeated viewings. The scene when the Defiant sees the minefield coming down, even knowing they get saved in the end, it's very intense. I do agree that the Dominion is too quick to accept the outcome of the prophets' intervention, and seems odd that in Tears of the Prophets they're pretty dismissive of Dukat's desire to wage war on the prophets. I also agree that Odo's redemption was too abrupt, though my biggest complaint on that front is more with subsequent episodes, since this episode was so jam packed with action that it didn't have time to examine whether Odo was really still a good guy.

But I agree with one of the earlier commenters that this episode is kind of the climax of the series, since everything kind of converges here. I was impressed with how pretty much every aspect of the show was on display in some way, and the writers kept all the balls in the air. Season 6 does drag a bit after this, I think maybe because the writers didn't have a clear plan about how to resume the show after the war arc, but I thought this one was a winner.
Thu, Aug 31, 2017, 10:07am (UTC -5)

I agree with you two negative points. The Deus Ex Machina of the Prophets destroying the Dominion fleet, and especially how wasted Ziyal's death was. Really, the other characters, especially Garak, should have been more upset. And I would have been quite happy to see her stay on the show. I like the idea of an insane Dukat, but I don't remember (on a re-watch now) how long it lasts. I hope for a long time, or it's REALLY a waste.

I also agree with Jammer that Odo's betrayal seems to be too easily forgiven. He should put his damn self in a cell, or agree to a demotion, or something. He really messed up, and was hours away from single-handedly being responsible for getting Rom killed. And in fact, if it weren't for the prophets, he would have been at fault for the conquest of the entire quadrant, since Rom was the only one able to prevent the destruction of the mine field. I really liked the angle they took with Odo in previous episodes. It was like he had developed a drug addiction. An addiction to the link that caused him to lose time and stop caring about all he held dear. He should have remained that way until going through some sort of extended rehab, after hitting an obvious rock-bottom. This episode didn't do enough to show that the stakes were really any different than they had been the previous episode. So why did he all of a sudden care?
Thu, Oct 19, 2017, 4:33pm (UTC -5)
This episode is all-action and wraps up nicely (actually too much so) Sisko's plan to take back DS9 -- but it is not on the same level as "Favor the Bold" for depth. There are too many contrivances and fortunate happenings here for the Defiant to take back DS9. Another interesting twist for Dukat's character is the strongest part of this episode for me.

The scene with Sisko and the Prophets was odd -- not sure what to make of it. How fortunate that they wipe out all the Dominion's ships in the Gamma Quadrant. The scene seemed out of place with the pacing of the overall episode, but it's clearly important and has future ramifications.

The uprising from Kira & co. was fairly typical. This too was rather fortunate but was better than the battle of the hundreds of starships. (I may be in the minority with this opinion).

For me, the battle scene was too unrealistic -- never seen so many ships all at once. I actually think it was too much and the relative space of the ships from each other had to be inaccurately portrayed (due to TV limitations) -- it requires too much imagination on the part of the viewer to think of how the battle would actually proceed but I doubt so many ships would appear so close together.

The real strength of the episode is Dukat's transformation -- great acting from Alaimo seeing the war lost, his daughter wanting to stay on DS9, and then killed by Damar. I actually like this act from Damar -- showing he's truly concerned 1st of all for Cardassia. He thinks Dukat should leave Ziyal behind but Dukat actually has a "human" side. He's reduced to a shadow of his former self.

A strong 2.5 stars for "Sacrifice of Angels" -- there's enough of a good story and action here to overwhelm the contrivances and I like the Dukat/Ziyal ending. Great performance from Alaimo -- as usual. Always nice to see the happy scenes when DS9 is taken back but it all happens too quickly and quite fortunately.
Mon, Nov 20, 2017, 1:15pm (UTC -5)
The special effects-battles are great and also pretty amazing are how near-seamlessly the episode reintroduces the Prophets, and Sisko's relationship with them, as major elements of the series after being big parts in just four or five episodes since the pilot.
J Fenzel
Sat, Jan 6, 2018, 6:30pm (UTC -5)
Just watched this one again. Weyoun has got to be THE best DS9 villain of the series. Jeffrey Combs is simply awesome as this character. I liked him as Shran in Enterprise, but Weyoun is his trek masterpiece.
Wed, Aug 8, 2018, 11:18am (UTC -5)
Spoiler alert! This review may contain spoilers, proceed at your own risk!



During my rewatch I've been trying to avoid the religious aspects of the show, not because I disapprove of them - as a matter of fact, I think it adds realism. (I'm just very bored by it, to be honest.)
During my first few watches, I never skipped an episode, but at my age I have to be choosy with my media consumption.
Okay, that said, I really did not buy the ending at all. Total cop-out. The scene with the prophets was extraordinary well done, and I have no complaints for how it was executed. However, the show is pitched at science fiction fans, and "God done it" is not a reasonable plot resolution.
But yes, hooray for Jeffrey Combs, easily one of the best actors on Star Trek.
Peter G.
Wed, Aug 8, 2018, 11:30am (UTC -5)
Not to naysay anyone's opinion or perspective on the show, but I find it very ironic when people who don't care for the religious angle of the show see the resolution of this episode as being a religious cop-out. It's ironic because that perspective sees the Prophets from the same point of view as the Bajorans - as gods waving a magic wand. You'd think that someone opposed to the religious angle would dislike the idea of gods (as Keiko seems to, for instance) and would see this as being interference by alien life forms.
Mon, Aug 13, 2018, 9:10pm (UTC -5)
Everyone says that the battle scenes in this episode are incredible. After six episodes though this gets incredibly tedious. Sisko reciting some offensive attack, O'Brien and Nog making some stilted banter about rank and duty, rinse and repeat. In the beginning of the arc it was entertaining to see them using the Jem'Hadar ship but six episodes of pointless space shooting gets old quick.

Odo and the female changeling. How many times did she say... "you were meant to be with us in the great link". Literally repeating herself for the third straight episode.

The scenes with: Kira, Jake, Lita, Quark and Rom were ridiculous. There's no way they should've been able to escape let alone disable weapons at the end. It would've been much more plausible if the aforementioned had been put into a labor camp and they have Kira lead an escape.

Admiral Ross and Sisko planning the entire war and no one else from Starfleet in sight. Could this Admiral be any more anemic? No passionate speeches? No take charge and maybe lead a ship into battle as the casualties mount?
Sun, Aug 26, 2018, 11:05am (UTC -5)
"Everyone says that the battle scenes in this episode are incredible. After six episodes though this gets incredibly tedious. Sisko reciting some offensive attack, O'Brien and Nog making some stilted banter about rank and duty, rinse and repeat. In the beginning of the arc it was entertaining to see them using the Jem'Hadar ship but six episodes of pointless space shooting gets old quick."

This was the only big battle in the Occupation arc though. This criticism doesn't make sense. And the battle itself is objectively very impressive.

"Admiral Ross and Sisko planning the entire war and no one else from Starfleet in sight. Could this Admiral be any more anemic? No passionate speeches? No take charge and maybe lead a ship into battle as the casualties mount?"

Admirals are the ones with the desk job. This was explored in "Star Trek2: The Wrath of Khan", and explained by Michael Eddington in "The Adversary"-a captain's job is the one everyone wants-it's the real reason to join Starfleet.

Do you expect all Starfleet admirals to be in the same room? It's possible Ross discussed it with the other higher ups in Starfleet before discussing it with Sisko. Or perhaps after. Or perhaps Ross is one of the supreme military commanders of the Federation, like Eisenhower during World War 2. Either way, we didn't need to see it.

"The scenes with: Kira, Jake, Lita, Quark and Rom were ridiculous. There's no way they should've been able to escape let alone disable weapons at the end. It would've been much more plausible if the aforementioned had been put into a labor camp and they have Kira lead an escape. "

Well, there's no way the Bajoran resistance should've been able to fend off the militarily superior Cardassian military, and yet they did. The Cardassians are arrogant, and Gul Dukat has been described by Garak as "Yet another Gul with too much vanity and not enough ability". He's incredibly vain-he's no genius. And he has a thing for Kira.

I'll admit they retconned Rom, but his characterization post "Heart of Stone" is an engineering wizard. He's the one who came up with the idea of self-replicating mines. Therefore it makes sense that he'd be able to disable the mine field. And Quark's rescue of them? As will be established in "The Magnificent Ferengi", Ferengi are perhaps craftier and more competent than the rest of the Quadrant gives them credit for. Add that to Quark's surprisingly strong moral center, and it makes sense that he'd risk his life to rescue the resistance, and be able to outsmart the Jem'hadar.
Sun, Aug 26, 2018, 3:34pm (UTC -5)
"Sacrifice of Angels" is another episode that is shockingly good. This wouldn't make my top ten, but it would certainly land in the top 15. It's the grandest, most thrilling single episode in the entire franchise. Every story beat worked beautifully for me on this re-watch-Dukat's rise and fall, the grand battle, the prison break, the prophet's intervention-it all worked to make a stunning conclusion to the best episodic run of Trek ever (especially if you include "In the Cards" and "Call to Arms"). One criticism that I'm surprised that Jammer made in his Season Six recap is that this episode prioritized action over drama-the climax of this episode isn't the big space battle-it's the epic fall from grace of Gul Dukat.

4 stars.
Dark Kirk
Wed, Aug 29, 2018, 11:06pm (UTC -5)
Mads beat me to the punch. The link was like a drug addiction for Odo. It makes more sense when you think of it that way.
Sat, Sep 15, 2018, 2:06am (UTC -5)
I get why some people think the ending here was contrived, but it pretty much had to be something as "epic" as the Prophets guarding the wormhole. If the thing that stopped the Dominion Fleet was merely some more ordinary man-made, one-time deux-es-machina, there really wouldn't be much stopping the Dominion from trying to retake DS9 over and over again, and we'd have to see that play out over and over again in scripts.

This way, the specter of the Prophets is keeping the Dominion at bay. There's literally a "fear of God" aspect at work that makes the Federation's reclamation of DS9 is far more stable.
Sat, Sep 29, 2018, 8:35am (UTC -5)
I get why some people think the ending here was contrived

We don't think it is. It's a fact it is. It's a classic deus ex machina. Very lazy writing. Accept it.
Tue, Oct 2, 2018, 10:24am (UTC -5)
"We don't think it is. It's a fact it is. It's a classic deus ex machina. Very lazy writing. Accept it."

But it isn't lazy writing. They could easily have had Rom and Kira succeed in disabling the station's weapon systems. They chose to have the prophets intervene.
Peter G.
Tue, Oct 2, 2018, 10:49am (UTC -5)
The only lazy thing would be to introduce godlike aliens in a wormhole and never have them do anything.
Jason R.
Tue, Oct 2, 2018, 10:56am (UTC -5)
"We don't think it is. It's a fact it is. It's a classic deus ex machina. Very lazy writing. Accept it."

Nope. As has been explained many times, the capability of the Prophets to do what they did was established in Emissary. A Deus Ex Machina comes out of nowhere and employs arbitrary or previously unknown means.

While their relationship with Sisko and their personal interest in him as an individual is a retcon, their power to do as they please in their own wormhole, which they constructed, is not.

Like Dukat (and the Federation) the audience completely forgot what the wormhole was. I actually think it's brilliant.
William B
Tue, Oct 2, 2018, 10:56am (UTC -5)

Yes and no. Putting aside the "lazy writing" question, the Rom-Kira solution would have solved *this* episode's conflict, and the specific choice to have their plan to destroy the station's weapons fail at the last minute was of course a carefully planned measure; if there were no "Prophet intervention" or similar thing on the table, they would have had Kira and Rom disable the weapons. But it would have changed the rest of the series immeasurably to have the Dominion fleet be sitting on the other side of the wormhole, just waiting for the Dominion-Cardassian AQ fleet to retake the station and this time *really* disable the mines. The Prophet intervention has a hugely different result of removing an attack from the GQ as a possibility for the whole rest of the series. Given that the writers (I assume) didn't want to have the AQ Dominion keep trying to retake DS9 for the rest of the series, they had to do a more significant change. (This isn't me getting into defending or criticizing the specific Prophet-intervention writing choice.)
Andre Rhine-Davis
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 10:45am (UTC -5)
A lot of good points have been made by everyone so far, especially at how jarring it is for Odo to go back immediately to being the trusted head-of-security welcoming Sisko back to the station after his serious betrayal. It should take far far more than just one "redemptive act" for him to earn back the trust of the "good guys".

Also good points at how bizarre Weyoun and the Founder seem to act after the ships disappear. Nobody seems to question why or how or "wtf?!?!" except Dukat. Didn't Weyoun or the Founder wonder what the hell was going on? I mean, I get that they realised they were in serious trouble and had to get out of there fast and there wasn't really time to sit around and ponder, but they just seem to... *accept* it, without any shock or confusion.

My biggest issue with this episode which just really took me out of it though is how the "defense fleet" makes no sense. After the Defiant makes it through the defense fleet, it then goes *maximum warp* to DS9. The defense fleet is not guarding DS9 directly, it's lightyears away. My question is, why not go maximum warp straight to DS9 from the beginning? Why stop in front of this defense fleet in the first place? We are never given any reason to think that this fleet can stop ships moving at warp from just warping right past it. If this were a land army or naval army, you can send tanks/ships away from the location you're defending, in order to stop other tanks/ships en route. But this just makes no sense given the Star Trek universe where ships can just move at warp usually completely unhindered, and we weren't told that this fleet could somehow stop ships at warp. Also, I know that they were trying to get to DS9 as fast as possible, but if the fleet *could* somehow intercept ships moving at warp, wouldn't it have been possible to just go slightly around them? Space is huge and empty, and the fleet occupies such a tiny tiny tiny portion of space.

As for the prophets, I wouldn't exactly call it a Deus Ex Machina, since as has been said already, they were introduced from the very beginning of the series as very powerful beings that resided in the wormhole. I think the bigger problem is just the inconsistency in how they are presented. I feel like we as an audience never really got a good feel for what the extent of the prophets' power is, and what their goals/motivations are, and what they are/aren't willing to do. Sometimes they don't seem to understand linear time or things in general, sometimes they do. Sometimes they don't seem to care or even be aware of Bajor and the corporeal world, sometimes they do. I get that they're meant to be a mystery, but the audience is just left wondering why they decided to help this time. If they are so powerful and they seem to care about Sisko, why doesn't Sisko go to them more often with requests or questions? They're not so much a Deus Ex Machina as much as a plothole; the fact that Sisko can just go to the prophets and get them to destroy thousands of ships makes one wonder why he hasn't done something like that before or why doesn't he do it again in the future. The prophets aren't well enough understood or explained for it to feel like there's a solid reason why Sisko *can't* interact with them more and use their overpowered abilities.

More generally, the way the Federation and the Cardassians and the Dominion and pretty much everyone (including the Bajorans themselves!) treats the Bajoran religion and the Prophets/Wormhole aliens makes no sense. From the moment the wormhole and the wormhole aliens were discovered; they should have been treated as a powerful alien race. The Bajoran religion should have been reanalysed as the cultural and social interpretation by the Bajorans of *contact* between them and the wormhole aliens. The Federation should be trying to make further contact with the wormhole aliens, better understand them. They should be studying the Bajoran prophecies and the Bajoran religion in an attempt to reconstruct to what extent it's true, to reconstruct how the wormhole aliens have been communicating with the Bajorans, to learn more about the wormhole aliens. Bajoran religion itself should be turned on its head now that you can *literally visit and talk to the gods*. The Federation and other cultures may not believe that the wormhole aliens are "gods" in a spiritual or theological sense, but they have to ascribe them power and powerful extradimensional beings, and accept that the religion on Bajor is highly influenced by them, and has some truth inasmuch as its "prophets" do exist.

Instead, everyone just treats the Bajoran religion like any other religion, making vague spiritual claims about souls and gods that cannot be tested, despite the fact that you certainly can test them because you literally just discovered the celestial temple!!!!!!! The Bajorans themselves still treat the prophets as these vague gods that one has to believe in with faith, and whose motives and desires can only be interpreted through prophecies and scripture, despite the fact that you can now literally go and visit them! When Sisko starts having these prophesies and finds B'hala, the Federation shouldn't be like "this crazy religion stuff makes us uncomfortable", they should be like "oh wow, it seems like those wormhole aliens are communicating with you telepathically somehow!". Why are they still treating the wormhole aliens as the made-up gods of the Bajoran religion when they've actually been physically discovered and their powers have been directly seen?!?!

It seems like Grand Nagus Zek was the only one intelligent enough to treat the wormhole aliens like... well... aliens, that one could communicate with and interact with and trade with. Everyone else seems to totally forget about them, treating them at best as some weird space anomaly that just is, and at worse as just the made-up invention of the Bajoran religion. Everyone just treats the wormhole like a natural phenomenon that one can fly through, forgetting that it was made by the wormhole aliens and is being maintained by them. And everyone keeps treating the Bajoran religion as no different to any other Earth religion. Including the Bajorans, mind you.

"Can anyone explain why shape-shifters feel it necessary to gain political and military power in the galaxy? They have "paradise" on their planet already -- why the powerlust?" - Paul York
"According to their own propaganda at least, they are paranoid about the solids reïnflicting their prejudiced persecution upon them (the irony is apparently, totally lost upon the entire link)." - Elliott
Odo has an inbuilt sense of justice. He feels it's his duty to enforce that justice, to punish the wicked. The Founders explain to him that what he feels is not a desire for justice, but *order*. The Founders also feel this desire for order, this desire to control the universe and bring it into order.
There could certainly be truth in the whole "we must control the solids to protect ourselves from them" motive, but from what we have seen of Odo and the rest of the founders, it seems they are very much control-freaks and just feel a need to control everything around them so the universe is nice and orderly and to their liking.
As for the irony of protecting themselves from persecution by persecuting the solids, it's clear that the Founders don't see solids as people. Only changelings are *people*; solids are just... animals more or less. Creatures to just use and exploit for the benefit of the Great Link.

As for SecMan's posts, I agree with most of their points, they articulated a lot of things I wanted to say, but I do disagree with their complain about Dukat. I think showing Dukat's descent into madness starting when victory was snatched away from him is fine. He was so so convinced the Dominion would win, victory was practically certain. He was fantasizing about how he would rule the alpha quadrant. This is a man who had lost everything, and who was finally finally about to get it all back, and more. To suddenly have that disappear with no rhyme or reason came as such a huge unprocessable shock. He had once again lost so much, but at least he still had Ziyal. He was a bit unhinged, but not completely insane. Once he lost Ziyal though, he had nothing, and he went completely insane.
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 11:26am (UTC -5)
Excellent post, Andre, you're breathing new life into 22-year old episode! You make a lot of interesting points, so I'll just discuss the one I hadn't fully thought of:

"My question is, why not go maximum warp straight to DS9 from the beginning? Why stop in front of this defense fleet in the first place? We are never given any reason to think that this fleet can stop ships moving at warp from just warping right past it. If this were a land army or naval army, you can send tanks/ships away from the location you're defending, in order to stop other tanks/ships en route. But this just makes no sense given the Star Trek universe where ships can just move at warp usually completely unhindered, and we weren't told that this fleet could somehow stop ships at warp. Also, I know that they were trying to get to DS9 as fast as possible, but if the fleet *could* somehow intercept ships moving at warp, wouldn't it have been possible to just go slightly around them? Space is huge and empty, and the fleet occupies such a tiny tiny tiny portion of space. "

You're right, just to throw this out there, let's assume the SFX budget was never large enough to handle this concept in the Star Trek television series. But in-universe, a blockade makes no sense in space unless ships can effectively create a comprehensive net that makes travelling around the net incredibly time-consuming and futile under exigent circumstances like battle.

However, from what we know of "warp" is that it's not like a ship is traveling in unreachable field of travel like hyperspace, if you will. There's a scene in ST: Into Darkness that shows The Vengeance overtaking the Enterprise in warp speed *and* actually shooting it out of warp. So, I suppose we'd have to imagine that a comprehensive "defense fleet" like the Cardassian one shown here should include high-speed interception ships (i.e. fighter planes in aerial terms) that could catch a ship like The Defiant in warp and at least knock it out of warp.

Of course, if the Defiant were cloaking, none of this would matter. But as a policy, the show doesn't use the cloak in the AQ because Gene and later Berman didn't like the idea of The Federation "sneaking around".
Peter G.
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 12:50pm (UTC -5)
Things would devolve into technobabble, I think, if they were required to explain in each situation why some technical thing couldn't have avoided confrontations. In this case the idea of a necessary battle isn't very hard to believe, and spending time explaining why they needed to fight might serve the tech nitpicking but would otherwise harm the fundamental "we need to get past them", bogging it down with tech stuff.

On this score, however, there is some consistency through TNG and DS9 about needing to fight in real space rather than at warp. Perhaps it's a budget/clarity issue, but we can assume some stuff if we really feel like it. As long as we imagine that an interference field or some such thing can dangerously knock ships out of warp then we can assume that an intercepting fleet could either flank or at least clip a fleet trying to fly past, and mess them up. Any time a fight like this occurs as long as we assume that it's too dangerous to avoid dropping out of warp when engaged by an enemy fleet then that solves that, whatever the technical reason.

Although it's ships instead of armies of infantry, if you consider a literal army it would be foolhardy to try to walk laterally past another army so that they can swing in to hit you from the side. Now in case of ships it may be easier to come about and re-form at a moment's notice, but either way I think the tacit understanding it that one can't afford to ignore an offensive fleet, and that the technological disparity between Federation and Cardassian/Dominion ships is narrow enough that it's not possible to vastly out-strip the speed of the other fleet. And this isn't even getting into the area of other tech that's never been mentioned. Like what if there's such a thing as a warp interdiction field, like in Star Wars? You would have to then drop out of warp to disable the generator before proceeding again.

Anyhow I don't really think this is a plot hole, just a tech matter that they never decided to spend time on, which I think was maybe a good idea.
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 9:27pm (UTC -5)

I loved Quark, especially.

The Prophets getting involved in the retaking of DS9 was a disappointment, but nothing major.

Ziyal!! Oh, no. No, no. Dukat brought me to tears.

Where's this all going?
Wed, Jan 30, 2019, 1:01pm (UTC -5)
After reading comments:

--My disappointment in the Prophet solution isn't about lazy writing or DEM. It's just that this says to me that we'll be seeing more of the Prophet/Emissary stuff, and I mostly find that boring. Would have rather seen Rom and Kira succeed, and the ongoing tension that would mean.

Also, apropos of nothing, it is colder than the soulless black vacuum of space outside.
Wed, Jan 30, 2019, 1:27pm (UTC -5)

DS9 is big on religious imagery, so the Prophet stuff never goes away. I myself have given DS9 a hard time for its analogies on religion which often ring false (to me). However, I do want to give them credit for trying to figure out how religion might fit in the Star Trek universe. It's something that, as a practical matter, couldn't happen under Roddenberry. And yet - it seems like Roddenberry created a universe that would still have spiritual believers like the Bajorans and would want Starfleet to find a way to work and understand such people.
Wed, Jan 30, 2019, 8:04pm (UTC -5)

I don't know if the problem is that it rings false to me-I'd say the bigger problem is how vague it is. The show never takes the time to develop it the way it does Cardassians or Klingons, so it never really says anything meaningful about religion (with some exceptions like "Rapture", etc.). I think that's why the religious stuff is so boring for me (and for other DS9 viewers).
Thu, Jan 31, 2019, 12:42pm (UTC -5)

Are you saying the Bajoran religion was never developed? There are quite a few episodes, especially in the early years of the series that describe it. But what part should be developed more? The lack of detail that the showrunners provide I think shows they were still a little skittish bringing up religion in a sci-fi show.

The religious-themed episodes are very polarizing too. I can't stand "Rapture" personally but think "Accession" is one of the best episodes of DS9. The difference between these two episodes in terms of religious interpretation is that in "Rapture" you have Sisko interrupting important diplomatic conferences with crazy doomsday predictions like he's Ezekiel from the Old Testament. Contrast that with "Accession" which presents a good case for how Sisko can be faithful and still be a Starfleet officer (a position which I think is a more realistic interpretation of modern religion that embraces both science and God.)
Thu, Feb 7, 2019, 3:35am (UTC -5)
What I wanted was neither the Peophets vanishing g the Dominion fleet nor Rom disabling the weapons in time. What I wanted was the fleet to come through.

The show had become Willing to shake things up and do the unthinkable. Having the fleet come through and turn the tide against the Federation would have been fantastic.

I never and don’t buy into this notion the Federation can’t fall or have a major setback. Up until the series final I had no idea if the Dominion would win or lose the war or how badly the Federation would be

Plus having the fleet come through would provide much more compelling arc based storytelling specific and unique for Ds9 than the mediocre standalone and aimless storytelling the rest of season six wallowed in
Thu, Feb 7, 2019, 3:40am (UTC -5)
And the arc was clearly building up to and setting up the trajectory of Odo joining the Founder and they should have followed through on his betrayal

And one more thing about using the Peophets. It was most certainly cheap and unsatisfying. A superbeing or group of superbeings even if part of the series from the beginning coming in and saving the day is lazy writing. I could only imagine how much TNG The Bedt of Both Worlds would have fallen flat hadQ-yet another superbeing part of a series from
The pilot -had snapped his fingers and poof! When the cube at the end of Part Two That’s exactly what happened in Sacrifice of Angels and no amount of debating is going to alter that reality
Peter G.
Thu, Feb 7, 2019, 7:05am (UTC -5)
@ Startrekwatcher,

"A superbeing or group of superbeings even if part of the series from the beginning coming in and saving the day is lazy writing."

If you believe they're superbeings does that mean you subscribe to the Bajoran religion? ;)

But seriously, all they did was forbid travel through their wormhole. If you had a problem with them having control of their own wormhole then your problem should have begun with the pilot, when it was stated that the wormhole was artificial.
Joe M.
Sat, Mar 23, 2019, 1:08am (UTC -5)
I don't think I'd ever been as invested in a Star Trek series - maybe even a TV series in general - as much as I was in the Dominion War arc up to this point. The morality of the TNG federation was being tested and re-examined in a time of war. A rich cast of characters had to make difficult, sometimes dubious decisions in search of the greater good. And... wasn't enough? Wow! What's going to happen next? Oh. None of it mattered.

It's not a DEM, but that doesn't mean it's a satisfying resolution. I've read interviews with Ira Behr about this episode, and how he felt it was a great climax for Sisko and his relationship with the Prophets. Ok. I don't disagree...but there was so much more going on here than that. I've often wondered if perhaps certain voices in the writer's room had precedence, and their plots and ideas have a higher priority.

I like that DS9 addresses religion and spirituality. I love that it did politics and conflict so well. I'm just so disappointed it couldn't mix the two better than what we got in Sacrifice of Angels and the last two seasons.
Thu, Apr 4, 2019, 12:00am (UTC -5)
I am slowly rewatching all the episodes of Star Trek. I love this site. After each episode I come read the review, browse the comments and am consistently amazed (in a good way) that people are still going with the discussion.

This arc has been my favourite so far. I was so disappointed with the deus ex.. wormhole? When the mines went up I thought we were set for a really risky season. Instead, the writers quickly hit the reset button.

That being said, I still loved it.
Fri, Nov 29, 2019, 1:41pm (UTC -5)
Sacrifice of angels

In the end sisko arrives at ds9 only to find that he has failed to arrive in time and that the mine field keeping the dominion ships away has been destroyed. Rather than accept this defeat and regroup with command (or even to check in with command to receive new orders) sisko decides to commit suicide by taking on 2500 ships all by himself. Well, not exactly all by himself, his entire crew is with him. His last orders before the wormhole aliens save him (and his entire crew) from himself is to tell the weapons officer to 'make every shot count'. Even if one shot is enough to destroy one enemy ship, and assuming the enemy does not fire first and destroy sisko (and his crew he has brought along on this little suicide run), his ship is certain to be destroyed soon after.
Had the wormhole aliens not intervened, Sisko's ship and crew would be valuable assets in the federation's attempt to continue the war with the dominion. Ships are more valuable now that the federation is so heavily outnumbered. So how is there any justification for his actions?
Peter G.
Fri, Nov 29, 2019, 2:37pm (UTC -5)
@ D K,

In a sort of literal way I think you have a point that the Defiant is best saved for other purposes. But I think the intent here was for high drama and to portray just how hopeless things were at this point. The idea isn't so much that Sisko is suicidal IMO but rather that 'it's all over' and there is zero chance at this point that the Federation will be able to offer any substanital resistance. In other words, any action Sisko takes of any kind will be irrelevant in stopping the Dominion, and maybe he prefers to go down fighting than to be part of a Federation surrender into slavery (a fact he said outright in Statistical Probabilities).
Wed, Dec 25, 2019, 12:06pm (UTC -5)
Loved this episode. Played the battlescenes over and over. I was so engrossed in the seeming futility of the Federation battle that I had absolutely forgotten about the Klingons. Boy! Did my heart leap at the announcement they had arrived! Dukat going mad was perfectly fine and totally believable...a man with his years of effort and ambition and
lying self image finally confronted with the futility of his obsession with bajor? I loved the Prophet ending...I was so struck by Sisko's realization of just how inexplicably important he was to the Prophets...And he finally realized that importance and was willing to blackmail and manipulate them to do HIS will. Excellent. The Ferenghi were all great., Talk about the insidious influence of root beer on them!

But am I the only one who was frustrated at Kira's compulsive babbling and questioning of Rom when he's trying to disable the mind destruction? Geemaneezie! It's her damn fault he failed. I am not a fan of the Kira character at all...totally devoid of awareness of her impact on others.

As for the Odo redemption...I just always assumed those sessions with the Founder were designed to manipulate and control him, with an added nuance of Founder jealousy of his attachment to Kira. The shock of Kira's imminent death broke that control. We have seen before that the Founders were adept at manipulation, e.g., The Gowron Martok changling deception. I do wish this had been gone into much more.
Jamie Mann
Sun, Feb 16, 2020, 4:22pm (UTC -5)
I ended up not writing a review for the last episode; it's a good episode which hangs together well and sets up things for this episode.

Which itself is pretty good.

There's some interesting character interactions in this, not least when Dukat is gloating about his expected victory to Weyoun.

And while the lead up to it might be highly contrived, but Quark's reaction after he shoots down the two Jem Hadar is nicely pitched. Even Rom gets to shine rather than just being a comedy punchbag.

But this episode is mostly focused on two things.

The first is the large scale ship-to-ship battle which sprawls over most of the episode. And it's certainly exciting and very Star-Wars-esque, as ships zoom around and practically close to ramming distance before engaging with their weapons and then flying through the debris of the freshly disintegrated enemy vessels.

But at the same time, for all that this makes for a good spectacle, it's also utterly ridiculous. As I mentioned on the season 5 finale, this isn't a gun fight and it's not even a knife fight. Instead, it's a mud-wrestling match; the equivalent of two WW2 battleships closing in until their bows touch and then firing their main batteries at each other.

The second is the inevitable progress towards the dramatic ending, as all of Sisko's and the resistance's plans fail, forcing Sisko into a desperate one-ship stand in the middle of the wormhole as hundreds of Jem Hadar ships head towards him.

And then the Founders intervene.

This is a literal Deus Ex Machina, albeit one which is entirely in line with DS9's overarching storyline. As such, I'm not particularly fussed about the way they hand-wave away an entire Jem Hadar fleet while dropping hints about Sisko's future. After all, whether you see them as gods or simply superpowered aliens, they built the wormhole and have been proven to have significant powers of manipulation within it.

And so, the first big phase of the Dominion war is over, and we move into the final series of the show...
Dark Kirk
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 11:25pm (UTC -5)
Sacrifice of Angels is the Star Trek DS9 equivalent of Avengers: Endgame.
Dan Nugent
Sun, Jul 26, 2020, 6:28pm (UTC -5)
Despite commenting on this a few times I've never actually expressed how I feel about this episode. I think it's great.
The Dominion was a huge threat, anything the Federation or it's allies did that weekend that at this stage of the show would have pretty much taken the Dominion out of the game for the rest of the series. The DEM, taking it our of their hands, and levelling the playing field a little, kept it from just a continual battering the the Fed/Allies and then some miracle at the end of the show... Obviously can say this with hindsight knowing how it ended.

Easy 4 stars for me. In my top 10 DS9 and one I constantly go back and rewatch.
Dark Kirk
Tue, Sep 15, 2020, 11:43pm (UTC -5)
I disagree the Prophets intervening was deus ex machina or lazy writing. The Prophets did not want to intervene in "corporeal" matters. Sisko forced them by being willing to sacrifice himself. He demanded they stop the Dominion and they complied to keep them alive, and maybe because they cared about Bajor, but were offended by his aggressiveness and demanded a penance. It showed how Sisko was too important to the Prophets, and we only learn how and why in the series finale. There was a plan all along.
Sun, Sep 20, 2020, 8:53am (UTC -5)
Actually, the fact that the Dominion fleet engages the Allied fleet a few light years away from DS9 makes sense within the premise of the show: Sisko's main goal is to disable DS9's anti-graviton emitter to prevent the Dominion fleet from deactivating the minefield. It is stated that he wants to reach DS9 with enough ships to do so even if the overall battle doesn't go well. So it would make no sense for the Dominion to wage battle at a location where any potshot from a random enemy vessel could have disabled the emitter.

What DOESN'T quite make sense about this premise is the fact that DS9's deflector is made to be so special because it can be turned into an anti-graviton emitter. Surely, any large vessel's deflector array could do the same, or an appropiate device could be shipped from Cardassia. At no point is there any reason to believe that Terok Nor's deflector technology is somehow special.
Wed, Dec 30, 2020, 6:52pm (UTC -5)
So Quark basically saves everybody, saving DS9 and maybe even the Alpha Quadrant and the entire Federation in the process, and he doesn’t even get a thank you.

Man, Quark gets no respect!
Sat, Apr 24, 2021, 9:18pm (UTC -5)
@Luke (May 26, 2016)
Always enjoy your reviews. Dead on that Sisko is modeled on Moses. In fact a few minutes before reading your review, I noted that if k is changed to m, the name Sisko is an anagram of Mosis.

I fully agree with your finding that many responders on this site prefer atheistic plot solutions over any which resemble having been heaven sent. The attitude of these viewers reminds me of Kirk and Kur being upset over the Organians stopping the battle from occurring in TOS' "Errand of Mercy". On the surface they are decrying the hated deus ex machina, but I suspect this is less a desire for tighter writing, than it is a form of bloodlust for additional CGI pyrotechnics.

Having no problems with religious imagery myself, I find the loss of a Dominion fleet of immense size within the wormhole to be an acceptable re-telling of the Red Sea swallowing the chariotry of pharaoh.

Carrying Exodus-parallels further, we have Dukat as an over-reaching pharaoh, who, no less has lost a child,
although not his first born, and of course Sisko/Sismo/ Mosis [Spoilers] will be barred from ever settling on Bajor. The writers allowed themselves some license by inverting the birth sequence of Jake and Benjamin.

/4 stars
Peter G.
Sat, Apr 24, 2021, 10:35pm (UTC -5)
@ Sigh2000,

I like that Exodus reading of the story. Seems to fit pretty well.
Sun, Apr 25, 2021, 11:32am (UTC -5)
I also like your analogy Sigh2000 and I went back and read Luke's 5/26/16 comment and appreciated that too. I am also a theistic Trek fan, although on my first couple of times through DS9, I didn't connect all the dots the writers were leaving us leading up to the Red Sea swallowing the Jem'Hadar fleet. So as Luke said, it is not a deus ex machina, but it sure seemed as such at the time to me. But in fact it is very good writing.

One other thing that Sigh2000's comment reminded me of in Cecil B. DeMille's "The Ten Commandments" is the very start when the narration mentions "dominion". Hebrew slaves are pulling heavy stones under the whip of their Egyptian masters -- and while the Dominion aren't men, like the Egyptians they too see humanity (solids) as theirs to dominate.

The mixture of purportedly divine beings with sci-fi has always been an awkward juxtaposition -- when are they just advanced aliens vs. gods? But I applaud DS9 for going down this path.
Mon, Apr 26, 2021, 5:09pm (UTC -5)
Thanks for your thoughts on the matter. Trek seems to have had the ambiguity between gods and advanced aliens in mind from the start. In TOS, "Who mourns for Adonais" a good example of the formula: 'You may have been a god to our primitive forebearers, but it would be a sin for us Feds to worhip you in this day and age. . . Besides, we've grown up.

TNG uses a similar formula in the Q Episodes, although Q to some extent plays with the 'god is a sadist' notion, and uses the ongoing Picard and Q turmoil to investigate the theodicy issue, i.e., 'why does god do things that sometimes hurt us?' Like bringing the Borg into contact with the Federation years before it would have occurred otherwise.

DS9 seems more advanced in some ways. One can almost sense the wormhole aliens being too remote to even begin to understand something as mundane as the god concept.
Mon, Apr 26, 2021, 5:20pm (UTC -5)
@Peter G.
Have enjoyed reading your various posts.

As soon as the locusts came up in prophecy, I began to suspect there was an Exodus link. Still, the writers avoided the obvious, and kept the references somewhat vague. Otherwise Sisko would have been talking about frogs a few weeks earlier.
Tue, Feb 1, 2022, 5:06pm (UTC -5)
The funny thing about the massive ship battles of DS9 as in this episode is there's no way all these capital ships clustered so close together like this. They're at danger of literally ramming each other.

This looks impressive, but ironically, the starship battles in TOS were closer to reality, where you're lucky to see more than a blip on a map.

The ending here veers close to Deus Ex Machina, but it isn't in the pejorative sense. The Wormhole Aliens/Prophets are well established as part of this world, The Sisko explicitly asks for their help, and it occurs in their domain, the Celestial Temple.
Tue, Apr 5, 2022, 7:47am (UTC -5)
"If you want to be gods, then BE GODS!" didn't make much sense to me. They *haven't* wanted to be gods. They didn't create Bajor and didn't want to be worshipped - they didn't even realize that Bajor worshipped them at all until Sisko explained baseball to them. The orbs weren't meant as divine-mortal communication devices, they were meant to find other creatures like themselves, and us humanoids, being constricted differently by time, found them to be nigh-magical and treated them like prophetic symbols.
Fri, Apr 8, 2022, 5:53pm (UTC -5)
Actually, there is a weakness in the ending that pushes it more towards Deus ex Machina and it's Sisko seeming surprised when the wormhole aliens pull him into vision mode.

"Why have you brought me here? Show ourselves. What do you want?"

The way it's written and played, it sounds like The Sisko really was just on a suicide mission when the Defiant went into the wormhole.

The Sisko had explicitly summoned the Prophets before and it certainly makes sense he would do so here, and that he would make this explicit plea.
Thu, May 26, 2022, 11:43pm (UTC -5)
What I don't get is why the Dominion didn't just self-destruct DS9 on their way out. Sure, they have a non-aggression pact with Bajor, but the station is Cardassian. A scorched earth policy seems to be the Dominion M.O. considering that the Jem Hadar kamikaze in battle on a regular basis.

The intervention of the Prophets makes sense. Given what we later learn about Sisko's destiny, they would not want him to "shed his corporeal existence" too soon. The only way to stop it would be to stop the fleet of ships. Others above have asked why they didn't just close the wormhole instead? It's because, as we have learned in previous episodes, closing the wormhole might sever the Bajorans from their connection to the Celestial Temple.

Over all, I enjoyed this episode. On the whole, the seasons involving the Dominion War were superbly executed.
Fri, Jul 15, 2022, 11:45pm (UTC -5)

The Cardassians would never destroy the station for a host of reasons, not least of which is expecting to take it back.

Cardassia is part of the Dominion, so the Dominion could choose to destroy it anyway, but that would antagonize the Cardassians for little gain. The station itself isn't much of a threat, the minefield was.

Once the Prophets block Dominion ships from traversing the wormhole, DS9 is less important than ever in battle terms.
Wed, Aug 17, 2022, 9:02am (UTC -5)
The run of shows:
Call to Arms
A Time to Stand
Rocks and Shoals
Sons and Daughters
Behind the Lines
Favor the Bold
Sacrifice of Angels

may be the best sequence ever realized by any show of the entire Trek franchise. I can't think of anything extended story line that is its equal or better.
Sun, Sep 18, 2022, 2:54pm (UTC -5)

The battle scenes were supremely ridiculous... - I couldn't stop chortling and guffawing throughout. Aside from the absurd density of the vessels' formation (I remarked on that a while back, on a season 5 episode), the way they were all firing willy-nilly... 🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️ They'd have taken out a good 80% of their own through crossfire alone!

The damage system makes zero sense, too. When Cisco's or Worf's vessel is targeted, they take a pounding from a bazillion phrasers and torpedoes with nary but a few spark-ups and explosions. "Shields are down to X%! *BOOM* Shields are down to Y%!! *BOOM BOOM BOOM* Shields are holding at...," you get the picture. Yet, here we see spacecraft pulverizing each other after just a barely 90-second phaser burst. Come on now, guys!

Then there's the fact that all these ships are manned by crews numbering in the dozens if not hundreds, and commands are issued manually. I guess drones didn't make it past the 21st century. But yeah, I get it, it would be really boring otherwise.

And then, out of however many dozens of ships trying to "punch through the hole," only Cisco's makes it. Because of course he does. LOLZ!

But wait, there's more! Quark(!!!) is instrumental in overpowering two Jemmies and springing Keera and co. out of jail, who then go on to spend an eternity pulling an inside job with no pesky enemy troops tracking them down. Because of course they do.

And Dodo redeems himself. Of course he does. Never mind that his bullshittery had cost easily tens of thousands of Starfleet personnel's lives: If he wouldn't have thwarted Rom's attempt at sabotaging the deflection whatever, Cisco would not have needed to "punch through" 1,200+ enemy vessels. He should be airlocked, with extreme prejudice. Instead, it's yet another no-harm-no-foul reset-button deal.

Name your cliche, this episode has it.

Things do take a (brief) turn for the better 15 minutes out. I was so hopelessly jaded, resigned to seeing Cisco waltz back on to D.S.9, that it was genuinely refreshing to see him not. I was truly shocked to see the mines actually getting detonated.

And yet, I'd have preferred the most bromidic, overused, worn-out "good guy wins" cliche to The Cisco's LUDICROUS head-trip to those spirit freaks and what followed. I mean, the corporeal world doesn't matter to them but they're filling the Bajou heads with prophecy crap. Time is meaningless to them but they can't see the outcome of the Jemmies successfully cutting through the wormhole. They are timeless and extra-dimensional but The Cisco manages to expostulate with them and get them to change their mind in the here and now. And just like that: thousands of Jemmy ships *poof* gone!

WHAT!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

This has turned into a sitcom, tell you what, only reinforced by The Cisco's triumphant waltzing back onto D.S.9. I, for one, was booing and hissing. I don't know what the use of the spirit-freak side-quest was. Why didn't they just have Rom preclude the Jemmies from detonating the mines, the Defiant + Klingies pound D.S.9 a bit, the Cardies bail, and we get the same ending scenes?? Oh, I bet I know why, The Cisco's head-trip was a portent of some even more ridiculous pseudo-spiritual awakening to come in the forthcoming episodes. If it wasn't enough already that he's an "emissary" (*snicker*), he's going to be an emissary on 'roids now. Maybe even a prophet, dispensing his infinite wisdom quadrant-wide and attaining superhuman powers! I sure hope I'm wrong.

Rating-wise, 1 star, thus:
1/4 star for the action, such as it was.
3/4 stars for Ziyal's death and Dukat's subsequent breakdown.

P.S. Shouldn't the Jemmies have long run out of snow by now?!?

P.P.S. It's definitely The Cisco© from now on!
Gilligan’s Starship
Sat, Nov 12, 2022, 8:19pm (UTC -5)
So, they just BARELY survived a horrendous battle and the FIRST thing O’Brien and Bashir want to do is head off to a holosuite…to play THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN??

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