Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

“A Time to Stand”

4 stars.

Air date: 9/29/1997
Written by Ira Steven Behr & Hans Beimler
Directed by Allan Kroeker

"How's the restaurant doing?"
"All right. It's been three weeks since I've poisoned anyone."

— Benjamin and Joseph Sisko

Review Text

Nutshell: Wow. A brilliant start. Extremely dark and compelling.

When "Call to Arms" aired and the Federation lost DS9, my one real hope was that they wouldn't get the station back in a single episode. I hoped this situation would be around for awhile, and that we would see how the change in administration on Terok Nor—that is, with Dukat and the Cardassians along with Weyoun and the Dominion now in charge—would play out.

"A Time to Stand" delivered on all my hopes, and then exceeded them.

Anyone looking for huge, on-screen space battles and firefights had better look elsewhere. While "A Time to Stand" is most definitely about the hell of war, it isn't, for the most part, an exercise in special effects or tactical sequences.

Like the best of DS9, "A Time to Stand" is about its characters and their responses to the radically altered situations—although that probably shouldn't come as a big surprise. In a big way, this premiere demonstrates how differently the opening stretch of season six is sure to be. The formula we're accustomed to is currently null and void; anything can happen. Watching this fresh, interesting circumstance play out is and will continue to be a big part of the fun.

Over the summer I became aware that Sisko's loss of the station was not going to be resolved in one episode, and a big part of my anticipation for this season was in seeing how the shows themselves would be structured. "A Time to Stand" whets the appetite by laying the ground rules. I particularly appreciated the opening station log by now-reestablished Terok Nor prefect Gul Dukat; it was so refreshing and enjoyable to hear his perspective of how the war was going, and how it is "a good time for Cardassia." It sets the stage wonderfully.

Still, "fun" is probably not a word that generally describes "A Time to Stand." In fact, this episode instantly plunges into the depths of darkness and even despair—darkness that, really, is atypical on Trek, even in the midst of DS9's most serious storylines.

The war is going badly for the Federation. "Three months of bloody slaughter," O'Brien calls it, and the Federation has nothing to show for it. The Klingons and Federation have taken some terrible losses. One fleet of 112 ships went to face an enemy strike. Only 14 returned. The situation is stern, serious, and grim.

The episode's tone is reminiscent of the tone in TNG's "Yesterday's Enterprise." In that alternate reality installment the Federation was losing a war with the Klingons, and the tone was perhaps one of the darkest I can remember in Trek's record. In "A Time to Stand," the tone is equally dark—except this time it's real, not a reversible time anomaly.

The characters have an edge to them here that I've never before seen on DS9. The performers' portrayals of their characters is nothing short of brilliant. Particularly, the war seems to have taken its toll on Bashir. This guy used to be the most manic and enthusiastic of DS9's bunch; here he barely smiles once in the course of the episode. He's sullen, serious, laconic, and reserved. While it's true that Bashir has been mellowed over the past few seasons, here it's almost disquieting to see the difference.

And Sisko knows how badly things are going. When news arrives that the seventh fleet has been decimated, Sisko is frustrated, angered, and saddened by the tragic losses; the look on his face when he slams his fist down upon the table—cracking the glass in the process—says it all. It's quite a riveting moment.

Pretty much everything about this episode's attitude conveys a similar sense. Some of the moments are subtle, like the weariness in Dax's voice when she mentions that the entire crew could use some sleep. And a moving scene between Sisko and his father Joseph (Brock Peters reprising his role from fourth season's "Homefront") is phenomenal. The two Siskos discuss how Jake has been left behind on DS9, and how the war has taken its toll on the fleet. The quiet glances exchanged in this scene display a depression and vulnerability that is unflinchingly real—something truly rare and captivating. There's a pretty good joke in here (Ben: "How's the restaurant doing?" Joseph: "All right. It's been three weeks since I've poisoned anyone."), yet it's interesting to observe that neither Sisko has the spirit to laugh much at it.

I'm not saying I'd want Trek to always be like this, because I wouldn't. This is typically not what Trek is about. But dark drama can make good drama, and "A Time to Stand" is some great drama—very powerful in style, theme, and execution.

Omnipresent in the episode is the sense that despite the characters are doing everything within their power, the situation is one that more or less resides outside their control. All they can do is play it day by day, hoping that by doing their respective bests they'll be able to make a difference in the long run. That's not a pretty theme, but it is a potent one. This is war, and war is ugly. And such ugliness can also tell you a lot about how characters act when their backs are up against a wall.

This theme is vividly demonstrated by Kira and Odo back on DS9—or, rather, Terok Nor. These two are virtually powerless. Bajor is out of the fighting as the non-aggression treaty guarantees, but the station remains occupied. Odo and Kira sit in Quark's discussing the frustrating political bureaucracy. The dialog is fascinating, but what's even more interesting is how low they keep their voices—almost as if they fear being heard talking about the Federation. Nana Visitor and Rene Auberjonois' portrayals of two nearly helpless people are utterly terrific; "helpless" isn't a characteristic one would normally assign either of these characters, yet here it sits.

Still, even in a seemingly hopeless situation there's room for hope. In one of his patented, rare moments of depth, Quark mentions that "as occupations go, this one isn't so bad." Strangely, he's right. The Bajorans may not have a say in the operations of the station, but there are no Dominion troops on Bajor, nor is Bajoran death and despair lingering on the station's promenade. Times are not nearly so bad as they were during the Cardassian Occupation.

However, Odo and Kira do want a Bajoran security detail put back on the station, and Dukat will have none of it. He wants the Bajorans "in their place"; he sees his role in the situation as the same as when he was prefect five years ago. As a countermeasure to Dukat's hunger for complete control, there's the ever-presence of his superior, Weyoun. As I had hoped, the friction between Dukat and Weyoun first evident in "Call to Arms" has survived the summer hiatus and returned with an authority. Weyoun wants a cordial relationship with Bajor, but Dukat won't trust a single Bajoran for a second. The conflict here is engaging, and it's almost certainly going to come into play in the future.

The setting also takes an interesting turn when Odo reluctantly decides to go to Weyoun, using his stature as a "Founder" to manipulate Weyoun into doing a favor for him: reinstating the Bajoran security officers that Dukat so opposes. There are a lot of neat character dynamics present here—plenty of compelling relationships between these various people with such clashing, disparate motives. Even the Bajoran "victory" resulting from Odo's meeting with Weyoun is difficult and ambivalent in its implications; Kira begins wondering if it was a good idea at all.

Turning to matters that are less subtle, there's a confrontation between Dukat and Kira that exhibits so much tension that it nearly defies belief. Dukat is drunk off his own power; he thinks he has already won the war and the entire Alpha Quadrant. He's convinced he is a hero to Cardassia for saving it when it was "on the edge of an abyss." And his overconfidence has gotten the better of him. He's set on building an "intimate relationship" with Kira. When Kira is angered, Dukat makes a gesture that infuriates her further. "I'm a patient man," he notes smugly. The look of utter contempt that Kira gives Dukat as she leaves the prefect's office is unforgettable; I don't think I've seen so much barely-restrained rage inside Kira since "Duet." Marc Alaimo is equally convincing, and his true motives are open to speculation. Is he doing this out of revenge? To prove his power? Because he's truly deluded? The possibilities are endless.

The episode's official "plot" is quite reasonable, yet it's probably the least important aspect of the show. In this story, Sisko and the Defiant crew are reassigned to take a Jem'Hadar fighter (the one salvaged in "The Ship" last season) on an undercover mission into Cardassian space to destroy a crucial supply of ketracel white—the drug that keeps the Jem'Hadar alive. This mission is described by Admiral Ross (Barry Jenner) as one of the last chances for the Federation—short of surrender, that is.

We've seen the "undercover crew" plot before, but "A Time to Stand" handles it with some panache, throwing the crew into a Jem'Hadar ship that's even less user-friendly in its design than the Defiant. This is the only ship I can remember that doesn't have a viewscreen.

There's a moment when Sisko is forced to exchange fire with a Starfleet ship—a captain he knows—because he can't risk blowing his cover. The scene is taut and full of suspense, because the episode is structured so dark up to this point that I honestly considered the possibility that Sisko might end up accidentally destroying this ally.

The actual mission is handled pretty well by the story, although the usual implausibilities of such a situation are still present (you'd think a ship that was stolen a year ago would be flagged by the Dominion for instant destruction, yet Sisko's ship is never so much as hailed). On the technical end, the planting of the bomb at the ketracel facility is handled decently, and director Allan Kroeker builds some genuine suspense that prompts the crew to think on their feet.

But it's not the plot that makes "A Time to Stand" the classic that it is; it's the attitude in the performances, the writing, and the directing. It's an attitude that knows exactly what it hopes to convey, and it conveys it with a power that I've seen only within the best moments of Trek. This episode made me feel for a plight. But this time the plight wasn't some unknown race with an arbitrary problem that was introduced a mere ten minutes earlier. The plight here is the Federation itself and the characters we have known since the series began. The stakes are high, and a final solution to their problem doesn't lie anywhere on the visible horizon. This war is happening.

"A Time to Stand" shows every sign of being one ambitious step in a huge, epic, multi-episode storyline in the Trek universe. The individual thread involving the mission to destroy the storage facility may be completed by show's end, but the saga and the war both have a long way to go, and the next installment will take us in a new direction.

Yes, this season looks very promising indeed.

Next Week: Sisko and his crew are stranded on a planet with a squadron of Jem'Hadar soldiers. Is it "The Ship, Part II"?

Previous episode: Call to Arms
Next episode: Rocks and Shoals

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Comment Section

66 comments on this post

    Sisko's reaction when Bashir informs him that only 14 out of 112 ships from that fleet were returning from the battle just really stuck out to me and I've thought about it often in the years since I first saw this episode. The way he nearly breaks down in tears, just for a moment, while repeating the news to himself carries so much weight and conveys the pain of going through such a stressful time and the moments of despair when, after hoping that something good has to eventually happen, things continually go worse than expected.

    During Odo's meeting with Weyoun, and again later in this season when the female changeling says as much as that Odo is worth more to the Founders than the entire alpha quadrant - I couldn't help but feel a bit of frustration at Odo.

    Perhaps it's just hindsight (given how we know it all ends) - eventually he does sacrifice his life as a solid in order to end the war (and save his people) - and of course during this series he still has his unrequited love of Kira to resolve. But then he doesn't seem all that concerned about Kira over the episodes intervening between this and Sacrifice of Angels.
    It's very effective that he almost looks suprised, even distasteful when Kira reminds him that Weyoun thinks of him as a god - and would do anything he asked.
    And then Weyoun /does/ do what he asked without question. What if he had tried to exercise that power earlier, or take it further? Gone to the Founders and offered to return in exchange for them leaving the alpha quadrant forever? I can't help wondering if they would've agreed.

    I suppose it would've made for a much shorter series, and denied us many more excellent episodes, including those that develop Odo towards that ultimate conclusion.

    The female changeling was lying when she said Odo mattered more than the whole Alpha Quadrant...such a sentiment would undermine the entire set up for the Founders up until now...that they had to control the solids to protect themselves.

    If she wasn't supposed to be lying, that line makes a mockery of the entire last one-third of DS9's run.

    It seems rather convenient that the Jem'Hadar keep all their Ketracel-white in one facility. Wouldn't it make more sense to have it spread out throughout their territory? Other than that, a pretty good episode. It was very close to what I expected, though unfortunately I did not have the pleasure of seeing it "unspoiled".

    Wow, what a great kick-off to a season. Very visceral and grim. War feels real, even though so much of it has already happened (between season five and season six), and, moreover, what happened occurred "off stage." We viewers simply hear the chilling aftermath figures and the data hits us as it hits Sisko: hard. My only very mild complaint is that this episode needs (NEEDS!) a reaction scene involving Weyoun and Gul Dukat when they learn that the Ketracel-white facility has been destroyed by the Federation. Maybe this scene comes in a later episode (I am watching DS9 for the first time), but it would be priceless to see Weyoun's carefully crafted surface of nonchalance slip into one of surprise and anxiety--ditto for Dukat who has been too cocky over the Dominion's/Cardassia's military success. As a viewer, I want to see a scene where these two are visibly shaken and taken aback (much like Sisko's reaction to the news that only 14 Federation ships out of 112 survived). Man, I love this show!!!

    Not really buying this Jake staying on the stattion sub-plot, it makes little sense from many perspectives. Also, I just don't follow whats so great about the Hadar fleet except they look like something from Battlestar and have cloak. So the Federation, even with the Klingon help, continue to get their but kicked and conveniently find the base for the drug and even manage to screw that up. With all the scanning tech around, why wouldn't they instantly be recognized as non-Hadar anyway? I guess overall not bad, although it seems like something is missing.

    What could've been really cool for this already amazing story arc would have been to change the credits starting with this episode to:

    Star Trek: Terok Nor

    Marc Alaimo
    Jeffrey Combs
    Nana Visitor
    Rene Auberjonois
    Armin Shimerman
    Cirroc Lofton
    Casey Biggs

    And change the station shots to some showing Jem'Hadar and Cardassian ships orbiting the station.

    A solid season opener, flawless in its execution, but I wouldn't quite give it 4 stars. The story didn't quite have enough heft to it, nor did it have a thought provoking theme.

    The console has glass for Sisko to break...I'd anticipated transparent aluminum...

    Jake's brief scene where he's trying to get an interview with Weyoun further proves that Cirroc Lofton's acting has vastly improved since the series began. There's nothing spectacular acting-wise in the scene, it's just really effective and believable. I wasn't especially fond of Lofton in the early seasons, but he's grown on me. A lot.

    That's the only (very, very minor) thing I missed in this review. Everything else was covered and Jammer's analysis was completely spot on.


    I think you've got to look at this differently: the writers are no longer considering setting up one-off and encapsulated episodes... they really are carrying this forward into the serial format where intentions, plots, etc. carry over through the seasons. Much of this ep was setup for so much more... and for that it deserves its fourth star.

    I think that if the Dominion had not been driven from the station that over time, the Dominion would have tried to supplant the Bajoran religion with worship of the Founders. Their religion might have kept the same form and appearance, but the Dominion would have attempted to place more Dominion-friendly members into Bajor's religious orders. This would have not gone over well, to say the least.

    A gritty yet highly admirable and compelling start to season six. Rather than becoming a foregone conclusion in retaking the station right off the bat; the writers instead create a part two to last season's finale as part of an evolving arc.

    Jammers review here hit all the nails on all their respective heads. Everything from the events on the station, to the rather depressing prospects of heavy losses in the fleet, to the impact everything has on people's personal and professional lives. It was all done very well with a fantastic sense of clarity and cohesiveness.


    4 stars.

    Nothing to add to Jammer's outstanding review.

    I would have been disappointed had they retaken DS9 in this episode.

    Easy 4 stars.

    Great review for a great hour of DS9. I don't have much to add on this one except that it's a very strong way to kick off season 6 and a solid chapter in this arc. Everything about it works for me. I particularly love the cross-cutting between the Federation and Dominion fronts. I also appreciate how the episode ends WITHOUT flashing a "To be continued..." title card. It makes it all feel a lot more real without being told "hey, we're going to resolve this."

    A solid 3-1/2 stars for me for being a great stepping stone chapter and a strong 45 minutes in its own right. (4 stars seems a bit high for me, just because it's hard to call this an absolute favourite of mine as it's more of a discrete chapter in an ongoing story.)

    I know a lot of fans complain about how dark DS9 is, but after over 700 episodes of Trek I have no problem with them during a couple of seven episode arc dealing with war. It wasn't like every episode of season 6 and 7 were about the Dominion war. They managed some great stand alone adventures not dealing with the war.

    Unfortunately, this episode introduces the character of Admiral Ross who ranks as one of the all-time blandest officers in Trek. Insipid performance from '....'(he doesn't deserve a google) and horrible casting. What is their problem with finding a half decent Admiral with a bit of charisma? The Admiral in Rapture was equally useless. If you notice, most Admirals' dialogue consists of platitudes and dull soundbites, as if the writers aren't even interested in them. I think Necheyev was one of the few fleshed-out and well written/acted Admirals. I just can't see someone like Ross rising through the ranks to the top. It's the same with the rest of the Federation Executive. Jaresh Inyo...zzzzzz.

    ^^ Well, they always said once you leave the captain's chair the excitement goes out the window. ^^

    Eh, I guess I'll take bland over bitchy (Admiral Nachev).

    Maybe the requirements to be an admiral is, bland and boring.

    I know things were bleak and the Federation was taking a licking, but did the Feds even destroy at least one JemHadar ship? I would have liked to have heard one good story.

    My favourite part of this episode occurred when Martok said something about it being terrible when fathers and sons don't talk to each other, and then Worf said, "Sir, I would rather deal with this in my own way." Martok's response: "then do so." It was a perfect rebuke that communicated both care and concern, and the equivalent of a swift kick in the pants.

    On another note, I enjoyed watching Klingons on TNG. With the exception of Martok, though, I find them rather depressing on DS9.

    I like how the writers titled this episode 'A Time to Stand' coinciding with the fact that there are no chairs in the jem'hadar ship

    A bit of a disappointment to me after the high of the end of the last series. Yes, it sets up an appropriately grim tone and is clearly signalling the move to a multi episode arc. But in and of itself it is mostly set up, and yes it's good, but it's not groundbreaking. The action sequences are also good enough but here too it's nothing really new. 3 stars for me.

    OK, time here to talk about station vs. not-station stories. SPOILERS up to "Sacrifice of Angels":

    While the story on the station over the next six episodes is *mostly* fairly consistent in subject (with some lapses in character, but I'll get to that), I feel as if basically each episode of the six tells a different story for the off-station people, with very little connective tissue between them, and, in fact, much of the time there is not even that much reason this has to be told while the Dominion has control of DS9/TN. I did say six, and not five, because even "Favour the Bold" and "Sacrifice of Angels" seemed pretty different in focus for the non-station people, though obviously there they are pretty strongly correlated. Still, basically over these six episodes we had something like:

    ATTS: Sisko et al. go behind enemy lines to fire on Ketracel-White facility. Secret ship flying adventure.
    R&S: Sisko et al. are stranded on a rocky, shoaly planet and must deal with wily Vorta and his Jem'Hadar.
    S&D: Worf has a kid, apparently.
    BtL: Sisko must cope with the life-changing realization that he is not in command anymore. For one episode.
    FtB: Ready attack fleet!
    SoA: Attack fleet for a while, then appeal to Gods!

    But of the first four episodes of the season, actually none of these stories actually *had* to happen while the station was in Dominion hands. The crew could have gone to take out the Ketracel-White facility from the station; they could have crashed on a planet in "Rocks and Shoals" for all sorts of reasons. I can't even begin to describe how inappropriately timed the Worf-Alexander reunion is. The Sisko-is-behind-a-desk material is, I suppose, directly connected with his role as adjutant to Ross, but 1) the story loses a lot when it turns out that he only has to deal with not being in command for the one episode and 2) it would make a lot of sense for Ross to tell Sisko to stop going on away missions and stay on and protect the damn station and Bajor in future episodes, where it would actually maybe make more sense as a story. Obviously the material in "Favour the Bold" and "Sacrifice of Angels" is very much about this arc.

    Now, I'm not *exactly* complaining. "Rocks and Shoals," for example, is a great story which also complements the station-bound material. But it does to some degree feel to me like there is a great story on the station filled out with stories for the rest of the cast that are war-themed and don't require the station or the characters on the station. That is maybe the best to hope for, but it does mean that pretty much throughout I find the station material more engrossing and vital, because it really does feel like this can only happen *now*. When it first aired, I really did expect that the ATTS/R&S episodes would spin off into a whole fully-connected arc, where the ex-Defiant crew progressively found themselves closer and closer to Federation space, which would also make them mirrors for Kira et al. trapped behind enemy lines in their own cozier way. I do get why they didn't do that. Still, the Defiant-crew scenes of ATTS/R&S lose a *little* bit for me knowing how soon they will get out of this particular predicament and then the off-station story will turn to the important issue of how Alexander is a klutz.

    As is, the off-station material in this episode has a lot to recommend it: tense atmosphere, finally some follow-up to Bashir's genetic enhancement (though this is probably one of the spots where Siddig deliberately sabotaged his performance), Garak being brought naturally into an important role via the eyepiece, the moral quandry of having to fire on another Federation ship, an early enough Potential Major Victory that it does not start to get old (as it mostly does by the end of the season -- SPOILER but I have a hard time caring about the whatever it was in "Tears of the Prophets").

    Still, it's the station material that really knocks me out, and this episode does start it all running -- especially the Dukat/Kira scene in his office, culminating in:

    KIRA: Wait for what? What do you think is going to happen here, Dukat? That you're going to wear me down with your charming personality? That I'm going to be swept off my feet by that insincere smile? Are you really so deluded that you actually believe that we're going to have some kind of intimate relationship?
    DUKAT: Oh, we already do.

    Which gives me chills just thinking about it.

    I will hopefully say more about the station material in a bit. 3.5-4 stars for the station material and 3 for the non-station for this ep...but the non-station does take up a lot more time. A marginal 3.5 stars.

    PS Obviously "Worf has a kid, apparently" is a joke. I know this is not news -- the "apparently" is because I find it an odd time to start following up on that story from TNG.

    I thought Quark's scene trying to get the Jem'Hadar to do SOMETHING -- dabo, drinking, holosuites -- was kind of funny.

    Jammer, I'm surprised you didn't go back and drop a half a star or so off this one after the season recap; given that the main plot here ultimately had no impact on the Dominion. I wasn't even clear if they *noticed* that their main alpha quadrant ketracel white storage facility was destroyed. It certainly didn't create any sense of... anything, really, on the Dominion's part in the remainder of this arc.

    I just don't think the DS9 writers were really capable of ending these long arcs well. I respect that they finally started taking some risks, but by the time "Sacrifice of Angels" rolled around, there were so many loose ends and contrivances and the entire arc really just boiled down to a really long reset button.

    The Starfleet A-plot in "A Time to Stand" is all well and good. Garak as a true fish out of water now forced to help the people he was trained to despise. Bashir as the newly formed grim-faced harbinger of doom concerning the Federation's chances for victory. Sisko having to explain to his father why he left Jake on the station (in a truly dangerous situation) while then having to go on possibly an even more dangerous mission himself. All great stuff. And there is a true sense of overhanging doom that saturates the episode. This war is NOT going well for our Federation heroes and that weighs extremely heavily on all their souls and minds. And we FINALLY get a recurring admiral character (Ross) who isn't another tired, cliched "evil admiral" stereotype.

    But what really draws my attention is the B-plot concerning Kira and Odo on the station. First, you have to love the conflict between Weyoun and Dukat. Dukat really is out for revenge, so naturally he tries to screw the Bajorans in every way possible. Weyoun, on the other hand, is thinking more long term. He knows that putting on a cooperative face is likely to get him better results - you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar and all that. Both are ultimately seeking the same goals, but have very different means of achieving them. Both try to manipulate and control the other, but we see crystal clearly who is the real "master among the servants" when Odo asks for his Bajoran deputies to be reinstated. Very nicely handled.

    Then there is the hands down very best scene of the episode - the one that is sheer brilliance from start to finish, the one between Kira and Dukat in the captain's office. This scene literally had me on the edge of my seat, it was so riveting. Even though she handles his rather scummy arrogance and flirtatious attitude with her usual wit (making a joke about Dukat's breath? LOL!) and aggressiveness, you still get the unmistakable sense of fear that runs underneath everything the two of them say. The tension in the scene is so thick you could literally cut it with a knife! The difference in this two characters' power is so extraordinarily intense at the moment Dukat "lovingly" touches Kira's cheek that you can honestly find yourself worrying that he might actually go *that* far to satisfy his delusions. Let me be blunt here - you honestly can find yourself worrying that he might in fact rape Kira. When she slams his hand away from her face you can't help but cheer for her. This might be the best acted scene in the entire series thus far. It was that amazing! You want to talk about how the episode makes it VERY clear that our heroes are feeling the weight of the world on their shoulders? Look no further than this scene!

    As if all of this wasn't enough to earn the episode high marks, "A Time to Stand" then goes on to do something I honestly thought I would never see in Trek - deliver a firmly pro-Second Amendment message! Dukat is purposefully keeping the Bajorans (at least the ones on the station) unarmed, even going so far as to not allow them to serve as unarmed security officers on the Promenade. I don't think anybody can argue that the episode makes it very clear that this is one thing that makes the Dominion Occupation "Not A Good Thing" [TM]. Any government that forcibly keeps its population disarmed is usually doing so because it either is up to no good or has other reasons to fear the public. Given Trek's rather open liberal/leftist stance on many (not all mind you, but many) issues, this open declaration that free people have a right to bear arms was rather surprising and very welcome.

    WTF HAIR - 34 (+1)


    I always thought thry coukd have done a Deep Apace Nine movie invokving the Dominion war which would have been better than the god awful insurrection mivie we got instead.

    Not sure where to write this, so I'll write it here:

    I loved, LOVED, the character of Admiral Ross. He carried a certain gravitas which balanced out the gung-ho attitude of Our Heroes, and came across as a genuinely sympathetic Admiral we could look up to instead of becoming either: (1) Distant Figure On A Viewscreen Giving Our Heroes the Orders Setting the Plot In Motion (2) Hardheaded Unsympathetic Distant Stupid Admiral Giving Unreasonable Orders (Nechayev in "Maquis Part II") (3) Crooked Admiral Who Drank The Water at Starfleet HQ (Pressman in TNG, Leyton in "Paradise Lost" and too many others to count). Even when Ross crossed an ethical line in "Inter Arma" the following season, he still came across as sympathetic, someone pressed into making a desperate moral compromise because he's sick and tired of ordering people to their deaths.

    And, damnit, he *looked* and *felt* like an Admiral, instead of someone who was playacting. Ross was one of DS9's best recurring characters and one of the show's unsung gems.

    Very sad to hear of Barry Jenner's passing; I know that I'll miss him for sure.

    The "Worf did all this?" scene in the holodeck "damage"? seemed overplayed. It's the holodeck...just say "Computer, restore default status of Vic's" and be done with it. Presumably the safeties were on.

    This was a good episode, with a bit too many contrivances for my taste. Why was the communications array down? Why did the shield go up around the storage facility?

    I didn't understand why Sisko had command of the Defiant in the first place, or why it was taken away. Just because the Defiant was assigned to DS9 when it was under federation control does not mean that it makes sense for the former commander of DS9 to remain as captain of a starship.

    And then, why was Sisko given an office when he's just heading out on another ship instead? How can he promise Dax that the crew will be kept together when he doesn't know what the new assignment is?

    Why would Sisko be given the mission into Cardassian territory? Just because he found the ship? Are he and his crew the most qualified for that mission? Why?

    The scene between Kira and Dukat was superb.

    I thought the interaction between Weyoun and Odo would lead to something much more sinister. When Weyoun got that look on his face and said, "Now that I've done something for you, can you do something for me," I assumed it would be something quite bad. Being on the ruling council is a tricky position, but they could have done more to play out the implications of Odo now owing Weyoun a favor.

    Also, the offhand comment that Klingons don't make good doctors makes me crazy. It is so typical of writing that highlights that humans are superior to all other species. Look at those Klingons, they can't even take care of themselves. Ha ha ha! They can't even hold a salt shaker to cure someone's shoulder. Humans are the best of all creation!

    @Dave - what are you talking about? Nothing even remotely similar to that happened.

    Jake's behavior was incredibly stupid. Jake can't possibly comprehend that Freedom of the Press um like uh doesn't exist everywhere especially in wartime while under an authoritarian power.

    What kind of a moron wouldn't get that?

    I mean its damn foolish enough he chose to stay behind but okay be an intrepid journalist and write your amazing articles from behind enemy lines. But do understand you can't write as if your writing from San Francisco Federation News Headquarters.

    I'm around his age I wouldn't be that naïve and stupid.

    Overall its a DS9 usual-more war than Trek. Yay. If I wanted war space opera I'd watch Star Wars.

    @Luke Eh, I think you are reading a bit too much into allowing armed bajoran security on station. An expansive power allowing occupying nation to keeps its own police isn't the same as goverment having minimal restriction over its civilian population owning guns.

    Forgot to mention, but the ending cliffhanger actually cracked me up a bit. "My god... we have the same premise as Voyager! NOOOOOOOOOO!" I know, I'm being just cruel now but come on, anybody else?

    @Quarkissnyder Sisko still being in charge of Defiant could be explained by him being the one who designed it-it is the only one they have after all.

    @Strejda They clearly built more "Defiant-class" warships, as seen in the closing scene of "Call to Arms". Look at the Starfleet/Klingon fleet in that scene and you'll see a couple more "Defiant-class" :P

    3 stars

    A very solid season premiere episode. Not as good as "Call to Arms" or "By Inferno'sLight" which are the benchmarks of Dominion DS9 episodes. But still entertaining

    I thought smart move by writers to pick up the episode three months later which not only reflected originally the passage of real-time for viewers but also allowed for things to have settled into a routine for the characters

    I also loved that the episode made it clear that this storyline would be going on for a while and not quickly wrapped up with the Defiant crew reassigned to a specific mission aboard the salvaged Jem'Hadar ship which was put to good use from an otherwise lackluster episode last year. The idea of a very stripped down vessel for the Jem'Hadar was a nice touch and makes sense they wouldn't need food replicators or sickbay. Also enjoyed the dynamics among Nog, Obrien Garak Dax onboard. The mission to destroy the ketrscel white depot was a good idea and quite suspenseful generating lots of genuine jeopardy as they first approached it then got trapped inside the security net with the bomb ticking. I was also curious what exact impacts the destruction of the ketrscel white would have down the line.

    It also made sense that the minefield would still be intact. Much like in Call to Arms the dynamics among Dukat Weyoun and Damar continue to be intriguing and realistic First when Weyoun ordered Damar out and put him in his place--after Damar looked at Dukat. Then when Weyoun reminds Dukat that like the Vorta and the Jem'Hadar--he top is a servant, not an equal, of the Founders.

    The Kira Odo plot was fair. Out of it mainly just Odo using his "Founder card" to have his deputies armed and then becoming part of station ruling body. Plus nice seeing the non aggression pact --holding.

    Pretty riveting stuff here from so many angles -- the tables have turned and we get a good idea of what DS9 is like under new rulers; The Federation are trying to scratch & claw their way back. It's a great dynamic.

    Many great dialogs here -- like, of course, Weyoun and Dukat not seeing eye-to-eye, Kira/Odo trying to get a Bajoran security force established -- Even Weyoun wanting Jake to stop being biased in his journalism was a propos (as a journalist myself, I can appreciate that!)

    The scene with Dukat and Kira was particularly well acted. The hatred Kira has for Dukat is so tangible. And Dukat is quite a character -- so full of himself, but also sleezy and cunning.

    One issue is I question why Sisko is relieved of command of the Defiant and given a Jem'Hadar ship -- which of course gets fired upon by a Federation ship. Is there no coordination among the Federation admirals? It makes sense to bomb the facility producing the white using a Jem'Hadar ship but that part about the chase from the Federation ship seemed pointless to me.

    Great ending scene with the bomb blowing up the Jem'Hadar asteroid as Sisko and others try to escape -- it wasn't clear what the delay from the surface was but we can assume they found something fishy. But I think it's more realistic that everything didn't work out perfectly with a cherry on top.

    3.5 stars for "A TIme to Stand" -- great start for DS9 S6 -- sets up another story arc about the ongoing war and the new situations for everybody. I like this grim reality with DS9 and how it is portrayed.

    Caedus, you are absolutely spot on - apart from missing the fact that it isn't Jake who's the moron. It's the writers.

    Yes, they honestly do think this is a believable story and what would happen during war time with a genocidal load of conquerors. As I wrote in another part of this forum... Jake would be used as blackmail against Sisko.

    They have his son - A tactical advantage.

    Got to agree with you on this one, DPLB. Jake staying behind is probably the single most objectionable story decision in the series for me. I see it and can't help but think that he's betrayed his dad, and for purely selfish egotistical reasons. He wants to prove himself or something. It's beyond petty given the scope of what's happening. Actually I never really bought him as a writer in the first place, but putting that aside the reporter angle never amounted to anything other than making him annoying. He was such a good character in the first few seasons...they just didn't know what to do with him and wanted to shoehorn him into 'the action' or whatever. I wish that aspect of the show had just been deleted.

    Agreed. And you know what? It annoys me that they plain refuse to kill characters on Trek unless the actor actually wants to leave the show.

    I mean, was it really necessary to find reasons for Nog and Jake and everyone but a red shirt keep status quo? Wouldn't it have been gutsy if Nog and Jake had been killed by the Jem Hadar... or Jake killed in revenge against Sisko? At least something.

    Instead, they just conjure up more and more ridiculous reasons to keep characters on the show - when a death or gutsy storyline would have amounted to a far bigger emotional punch.

    "Jake would be used as blackmail against Sisko"

    I don't really see it. Sisko is a Starfleet officer - he isn't going to sacrifice the war to save his son, nor would Starfleet permit that. It's not like Jake's status was a secret or they could blackmail him on the down low.

    While I suppose we might expect him to try to save Jake from harm by virtue of him being the hero, the Dominion would have no reason to think this.

    Moreover, Jake was entirely correct that the Dominion was far more concerned with cultivating a good relationship with Bajor (to demonstrate its trustworthiness and benevolence to the Alpha quadrant) than inflicting harm on one Starfleet officer, however high ranking and important he might be. Killing or harming a high profile civilian, to say nothing of the Emissary's son, would have been idiotic.

    There was simply zero motive for the Dominion to threaten or harm Jake until he actively aided and abetted the sabotage of the station - and they didn't get the chance to do so thanks to the retaking of the station. But they did arrest him mind you.

    I don't really see it.

    It doesn't matter what you see. That's reality. A bloodthirsty genocidal enemy is not going to let the son of one of the main leaders of opposition roam about the station being a reporter.

    The kid would have been used as blackmail. That's the nature of war.

    I think I agree with Jason that Jake was more of an opportunity for the Dominion to show that it could be friendly. It would have undermined their general PR to do anything bad to Jake in the short-term. But that's a far cry from suggesting that Jake was in any way safe. As his father I would have been petrified knowing he was there, even if I was sure that it would be strategically foolish to directly harm or threaten him.

    I see the betrayal as being less about giving the Dominion leverage and more about wounding his father and giving him cause for worry. He had so much on his shoulders that he needs to lose sleep and go crazy about whether Jake is safe? It's just ridiculous.

    "It doesn't matter what you see. That's reality. A bloodthirsty genocidal enemy is not going to let the son of one of the main leaders of opposition roam about the station being a reporter.

    The kid would have been used as blackmail. That's the nature of war."

    The nature of war is to win and I explained how using Jake as blackmail would have gained the Dominion nothing and actually hurt their aims.

    How would this blackmail even work? Give us the keys to the Federation or we kill your son? Even if Sisko were the type of man to betray Starfleet to save his son, Starfleet wouldn't let him.

    As an aside, the war at this point was much more about soft power than military advantage. The Dominion already was kicking Starfleet's ass with just the forces they had in the Alpha quadrant. Once the wormhole opened, it woulfn't have even been a contest - they would have easily overwhelmed Starfleet.

    It was far more important to the Dominion to cultivate positive PR than to gain some tactical edge on Starfleet who they were trouncing anyway.

    But I agree with Peter that Jake was certainly not "safe" by any means. And I agree the Dominion would not have hesitated to use him in a way that made sense.

    I love DS9's occupation arc (despite my issues with Sacrifice Of Angels) but the Jake plot is definitely a weak point. It didn't really make sense for him to stay (I honestly don't think Jake would have been that selfish as to make his father's life inordinately more worrisome and difficult by staying), and not much was done with his character. Jake was somewhat underdeveloped/underutilized in the last couple of seasons in general (see also the lack of a goodbye between Sisko and Jake in the finale).

    Hello Everyone!

    Forgive me, I'm just running this through my head a bit...

    The Dominion seems to want good Public Relations as "Benevolent Invaders". They keep Jake around to help with that PR, but seemingly only with the Bajorans, as his stories are somewhat one-sided and StarFleet media never sees them. But the Bajorans see him around and know he is okay, and that is important to them as he is the son of the Emissary. And they seem to need to keep the Bajorans happy, because the Wormhole Aliens seem to like Bajor for some reason, and whatever the Dominion thinks of the WA's, they know they could control the wormhole.

    So... unhappy Bajorans could make for unhappy Wormhole Aliens, which could make accessing the supply lines problematic if the WA's are actually watching. They cannot be certain they aren't.

    Sir Bedevere: ...Exactly. So, logically...

    Peasant #1: Jake must remain alive and unharmed to keep the Bajorans somewhat happy(ish) to hopefully keep the Wormhole Aliens happy or ambivalent (just in case they are watching) so that they might be able to use the wormhole if/when it becomes available.

    Sir Bedevere: And therefore...

    Peasant #2: If anything, the Dominion might want Jake there just to show how nice and merciful they can be to the son of the Emmisary. They wouldn't do anything to him until the day they might have to leave. Then he would be toast.

    Sir Bedevere smiles and nods approvingly as they run off to try and weigh a Jem Hadar...

    As always, they were just strange thoughts running through my head recently, and no disrespect to anyone, real or imagined, is intended...

    Regards... RT

    "A Time to Stand" perfectly sets the stage for the final two seasons of DS9. The plot with the Defiant crew starts incredibly strong with a 7 minute teaser that does a superb job of throwing you right into it. The war isn't going well. Even Bashir isn't in a good mood. The rest of the plot works well, even if it's slightly below the teaser. The station material is truly transcendent. It works so much better than "Occupation" on BSG because, instead of aiming for shock value, it just throws a bunch of well defined characters in the same room (Odo, Kira, Weyoun, Dukat), while examining the consequences of living under an occupation at the same time. "A Time to Stand" may not have the 'wow' factor of other DS9 episodes, but it doesn't put a foot wrong.

    4 stars.

    Watching and commenting

    --The Dominion is making inroads. War is definitely on. The Dominion's objective is to conquer the major powers of the Federation, so they don't have to worry that any of the nasty untrustworthy solids will be mean to them in the future.

    --Jake is truly naive. But he's learning.

    --Good plan to take out the ketricel white . Yay, the Jem Hadar ship! I like the stark differences - no chairs! Nice way to emphasize the single-mindedness, the toughness of the enemy, contrasted with the complicated, relative "softness" of the Federation citizens. Nog is turning into an interesting, likeable character.

    --Who has the power, using your power, knowing when to use your power . . . something of a theme here. Sisko vs The Centaur, Odo vs Dukat, Kira vs Dukat, the Trojan empty canister bomb vs Sisko's ship, Julian finally feeling free to use his brain power.

    --Yuh oh. They're stuck - standard countdown time suspense . . . and they're out but stranded.

    Well done. Let's see where we go from here.

    I gotta say, I was happy to hear "and now the continuation" at the start of this, instead of "the conclusion". Long-term story, here we come!

    It's been a while since we've seen Garak and Bashir's Spirited Conversation... except not quite so spirited here, of course. Maybe this is Siddig's less-than-enthusiasm about his character's shift into Human Computering, but whether he's deliberately torpedoing the performance here or not, the result's actually turned out to be strikingly effective -- like Jammer, I felt a real fatigue coming off Bashir here, that he's been absolutely shattered by the hopeless conflict. Another nail in Early Seasons Julian "Frontier Medicine" Bashir's coffin.

    While watching, I did *not* like Bashir coming up with his "32.7%" figure for their survival, and agreed with Garak saying he was just showing off -- "where do you even GET a figure like that, that's nonsense" was my train of thought. My thoughts on this have changed since, but you'll have to read my comments on episodes ahead for that. Suffice to say, it came off badly here, especially as a first impression.

    "If I'm a Vulcan, how do you explain my boyish smile?" Dare I say, that line came off... a little flirtatious...? (Also notable, as Jammer points out, as being the only time Bashir smiles this whole episode. Not so boyish indeed.)

    Sisko's call home is a definite highlight here -- as in 'Paradise Lost", the grimness of the dynamic between them is a telling sign of the mood of the times. Naturally, recurring cast availability means we can't have scenes like this on a regular basis, but this is good placement for this kind of scene -- adds an extra dimension to the conflict by showing how the mood stretches back to Earth.

    Feels like Dukat's relishing his new position above Kira just as much as he relished the recapture of Terok Nor. No surprise whatsoever that he sets immediately to lusting after her as soon as he has the chance, but it makes for some intensely shudder-inducing scenes. They're a microcosm of the Cardassian-Bajoran dynamic, too -- not quite on same sides, but definitely in the same vicinity on account of circumstance, and with the former desperate to lever this as a way to "conquer" the latter. Both the planetary and personal levels to this are deeply unsettling.

    I will say that I don't have as much to say re: the Starfleet plot as I thought I would -- it *is* pretty straightforward. But I love seeing Garak take a role as part of the Starfleet ensemble cast. He's even got a Starfleet combadge. Match that with his Jem'Hadar headset (when he gets it) and the fact that both of these are being worn by a Cardassian... he's ended up a very multicultural person, by the necessity of survival rather than choice.

    Another good, if distinctly dark, episode.

    The one negative point isn't really about this episode, per se, but rather the consequences which arise from it. Or more precisely, the lack thereof.

    I'm not a great fan of using "future knowledge" (aka: spoilers!) when reviewing an episode, but in this case, I'm going to make a bit of an exception. Because for all that they go to such great lengths to stage a raid on the Ketracel factory, it has virtually no impact on the plot threads going forward, barring a one-off bar-fight a few episodes later, which itself is equally as inconsequential.

    It would have been far more interesting if the writers had followed through the implications of the Founders potentially losing control of the Jem Hadar. Alas, it was not to be...

    An excellent start to a strong run of episodes, "A Time to Stand" marks Trek's first attempts at a new kind of serialization. And so here we get a long string of episodes, each intimately connected, and each dealing with the Federation/Dominion war, and the Cardassian/Dominion occupation of DS9.

    As Jammer says in his review, an air of exhaustion and pessimism suffuses these episodes. The Federation have lost DS9, have lost countless fleet battles, and lost countless ships. To turn the tides of war back in their favor, "A Time to Stand " thus sees Sisko launching a sneak-attack on a Ketracel white facility. Much of the episode observes this operation, including a skirmish with a Federation cruiser. It's all quite tense, DS9 confidently turning its back on TNG/TOS styled SF and Weird Fiction, in favor for outright Military Scifi.

    Something I never fully appreciated with these episode is Kira's little arc. She begins this arc as a hotheaded resistance fighter, gets beaten down, becomes dejected and depressed, goes through the motions as a Cardassian aide, sleepwalking through life as a Little Eichmann, realizes she's become dangerously complacent and comfortable with Dominion rule, forms a little resistance cell, loses Odo to the Dominion, and then becomes a kind of vengeful, lone warrior.

    This little arc revitalizes the Kira character, who along with Bashir had become stagnant throughout the past season.

    We also get lots of great Kira sass throughout this episode, particularly in the ways she repeatedly teases Dukat, poking him like a smaller fish pokes a shark ("What's wrong, Dukat? Afraid we'll take the station away from you again?").

    Also interesting is the way the episode shows Weyoun INSTANTLY and AUTOMATICALLY kowtowing to Odo. The way Weyoun immediately gives in to Odo's wishes and requests are shocking, and highlights starkly how revered and worshiped the Changelings are by the Vorta. It's a fascinating and original relationship - the Vorta deemed Gods by those they lord over, the Founders deemed Gods by the Vorta.

    We also get three brief but interesting subplots. We have the Dominion bending over backwards to seem like "benevolent rulers", hoping to entice future Alpha Quadrant planets into their "federation", and we have Dukat once again touting himself as savior of Cardassia: "Cardassia was on the edge of an abyss, Major," he says. "The war with the Klingons left us into a third-rate power. My people had lost their way. I've made them strong again!"

    Finally we have Jake Sisko as a WW2 era novelist-cum-journalist, acting out an archetype familiar at the turn of the century: a Hemingway, Steinbeck or Norman Mailer-esque artist, living behind enemy lines in the name of truth and his art.

    Outstanding episode. Character and dramatic development driven, away from just mindless bang bang CGI battle action. Thank God for that.
    Edgy dialogue and character conflict in every scene. Everyone is boss and everyone exploits everyone else. Grown up stuff. Just brilliant television.

    I think Jake is probably my least favorite character in this series. He's annoying, naive and useless.

    To be fair, they rarely give Jake anything of substance to do. This episode even sets up an intriguing potential plot line about Weyoun maneuvering Jake into writing Dominion propaganda but that goes nowhere.

    It seems a bit surprising to me that Jake is allowed free access within the station. Jake's conversations with Weyoun were a good vehicle for Jeffrey Combs to act a bit like Pope Julius II with Michelangelo, but it was telling that Jake wasn't given much to become in this phase of station history. He could have been more undercover early on, like Kirk was to Kor in TOS. He should have been more disingenuous. The whole war correspondent angle was poorly established and was given neither meat nor heat. He just had no dog in this crucial fight. 'You mean to say my reports haven't been mailed to the people back home?' Give me a break.

    Pretty good, but did NOT like turning Julian into Data or C-3PO, spouting complex numerical calculations.

    Luckily Siddig didn't like that either.

    I suppose it still works if you just see it as Julian unsure how to behave after the revelations.

    I loved this episode and keep coming back to it. The one thing that bothered me, even from the first watching, is how they Dominion couldn't detect human, Trill, Cardassian, and Ferengi life signs on one of their vessels. This same issue came up when Dukat had commandeered the Klingon bird of prey. He has an holographic imager that made his appearance look Klingon on the view screen, but is it really so easy to mask actual life signs?

    I guess Starfleet figured out a way to mask life signs on a Jem'Hadar ship, but it would've been nice if they just had 10 seconds of dialogue about it.

    Superb episode - The interactions among the characters are so carefully crafted and so beautifully brought to life by the cast. I even like the sequence in which Nog wants a chair, Dax a viewscreen, Bashir an infirmary, and O'Brien a sandwich (or food replicator).

    As others have written, the confrontation between Kira and Dukat in the Captain's office is *the* scene of the episode, but that tense dynamic sequence is rivaled by others. As an aside, I don't think there has ever been a more interesting female character in any incarnation of Trek than Nana Visitor's performance as Major Kira.

    It's within the brilliance of DS9 to use this period of occupation to build the relationship between Odo and Kira. They work closely as trusting partners throughout the occupation. That quietly provides the foundation for bringing them together in a relationship as soon will be the case.

    This entire sequence of seven episodes, from "Call to Arms" through "Sacrifice of Angels" is about as good as it gets. Sure, "Far Beyond the Stars," "In the Pale Moonlight," "The Siege of AR-558," "It's Only a Paper Moon" and others are yet to come and there's one or two weaker entries among the seven, but the storyline at the end of Season 5 into Season 6 and the delivery of it by the cast, et al. is very, very strong.

    All the praise is well deserved. This episode is a triumph and a pleasantly retro experience. This was back when you didn’t have to have the season packed into ten bingeable episodes. There was space to let plot threads wander, so long as the grand narrative was divided into syndication-sized pieces. Some of the station scenes brought back the days when silences were not just allowed, they came with audible background noise. Not something I’ve heard in a while this side of Svengoolie.

    One minor thing bothered me. They could have inserted a little Trekkian ambivalence about the ketracel white. A line or two about potential genocide, the impossible situation of a race of engineered soldiers. Maybe it was cut for time. Bashir established the stakes in the opening scene. Back to the war!

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