Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

“Tears of the Prophets”

3.5 stars.

Air date: 6/15/1998
Written by Ira Steven Behr & Hans Beimler
Directed by Allan Kroeker

"If you ask me, it's an ungodly hour to go to war—and quote me on that." — O'Brien to Jake

Review Text

Nutshell: A few problems, but the net result is quite powerful.

"Tears of the Prophets" exemplifies the DS9 "event" show: miss this episode, and you miss some very important stuff. There's plenty of substance here worth digesting, and I think it provides a good example of many of this season's strengths (as well as some of its weaknesses).

Of course, the most touted event in the episode is the death of Jadzia Dax (and all three people out there who didn't know about it weeks or months before "Tears" aired now know), but what's interesting is that Dax's death is part of a much bigger scheme in terms of DS9's pivotal pieces, as it plunges the overall focus of the series into an abyss of despair.

This is an episode that takes a while to get where it's going, but delivers in the long run. Aside from some occasionally off-kilter execution in the direction and performances, "Tears" is, more than anything, an effective and important chapter in the character arc for the tortured Benjamin Sisko, a man who has so many burdens to carry that I don't see how he can even function anymore, let alone be one of the strategic leaders for this huge war while balancing his other duties as a Starfleet officer, Emissary, and father.

I'm certainly glad I'm not him.

Ever since "Sacrifice of Angels," it has become clear that Sisko's relationship with the Prophets would become increasingly important—not just in what it means to Sisko as the Emissary and to the Bajoran people, but also because the Prophets have been taking action in ways that directly affect the state of the Alpha Quadrant. Dialog has made clear the fact that the Prophets are prohibiting passage through the wormhole, thus meaning Dominion reinforcements will never come from the Gamma Quadrant. (It's interesting to note that no episode since "Children of Time" more than a year ago has taken place in the Gamma Quadrant.) I've been waiting all season for Sisko's penance that was strongly foreshadowed in "Sacrifice of Angels" to pay off in some way, and in April (or early May, depending on your syndication schedule) we finally got "The Reckoning."

Well, I wasn't a big fan of "The Reckoning"; it was horribly campy and I felt (and still feel) that it didn't add up to much in the scheme of things as they had been earlier prophesized. However, some of the elements from "Reckoning" help set the stage for "Tears," an episode that I think does bode well in the scheme of the DS9 game—very well, in fact.

In "Tears," Starfleet has finally decided it's time to go on the offensive against the Dominion. With the help of the Klingons and the Romulans (the latter of whom are actually present in an episode for the first time since brought into the game in "In the Pale Moonlight"), Starfleet plans to invade Cardassia. Sisko is selected as the man to plan and lead the attack.

This subsequently puts Sisko in a position where he has been before—having to choose between being the Emissary and being a Starfleet captain—but never before has it cost him what it ultimately costs him here. The Prophets, in their convoluted way, tell him not to leave the station. Why? Because the danger is too great. What does that mean? The danger to whom? Well, Sisko doesn't really know. He never really knows when it comes to the Prophets; they're always vague, and this time is no exception.

Meanwhile, Gul Dukat makes a return to the scene, showing up on Weyoun and Damar's doorstep, revealing that he has reached a moment of clarity. The post-"Waltz" Dukat is a guy consumed with hatred, and he's on a mission to enact revenge on both Sisko and Bajor. Having studied up on ancient Bajoran texts, he's ready to fight Sisko on levels of higher power. He has obtained a pah-wraith, and he's ready to take on a war with the Prophets themselves, hoping to somehow destroy Sisko and the Bajorans in the process.

A lot of this is fascinating. As much as the "good versus evil" game in "The Reckoning" struck me as simplistic and goofy, the idea of a pah-wraith being intentionally released for the purposes of unleashing self-serving evil seems to me an interesting idea, especially knowing what we know of the new Dukat. (At the same time, I still have my serious doubts about the silliness of body possession, synthesized voices, and dark-red eyes.)

All connections to the plot of "Tears" aside, I'm honestly not sure whether or not the new Dukat is something that will work in the long run. It works here, but a part of me wonders if the complexities of the pre-"Waltz" Dukat have been lost in this transformation. He's anything but subtle these days, and his role here is one of a cavalier, albeit intriguing, loose cannon. Marc Alaimo can still sell the "madman Dukat" personality with every bit of credibility he has to offer.

Since "Tears" is also a major war episode, there is, of course, the requisite Big Battle™, which naturally, is nicely done. But I was far more intrigued by the dramatic implications of "Tears." Seeing the invasion of Cardassia and a huge development in the war was definitely interesting, but the personal costs of these advances are what make this season finale a winner.

The episode was also laced with a lot of nice little snippets. For example:

  • I liked the moment when Ben Kenobi, er, Ben Sisko sensed the destruction of Alderan, er, felt the Prophets reaching out to him as the wormhole was being closed off. Seeing this vivid connection between the Prophets and the Emissary is one of the mythical elements of DS9 has always given the series an aura of faith beyond its sci-fi conventions. (Still, I fully expected Sisko's line at this moment to be, "I felt a great disturbance in the Force.")
  • The Romulans' skepticism, and particularly the discord between them and the Klingons, was good continuity.
  • It was nice to see Kira taking the initiative and taking command of the ship once Sisko was incapacitated (although, I give up on ever figuring out the nature of the chain of command on the Defiant; Worf has taken command over Kira every other time I can remember whenever both were on the ship).
  • The exchange between Damar and Weyoun where Weyoun dismisses the Bajorans' gods out of hand (while taking the Founders as given) was exceptional, and Jeffrey Combs' acting range continues to impress me every time I see him.
  • Worf's warrior cry when Jadzia died was another nice bit of continuity that worked all the better because it came without a tacked-on explanation.

On the downside, I wasn't particularly thrilled with some of the trivial characterization. For one, the whole idea of Bashir and Quark pining over the very-married-and-now-thinking-about-having-a-baby-with-Worf Dax was too much of a dramatic dead-end (no pun intended). As I said in my "Valiant" review, this is rehash material that I simply don't find convincing. The only reason to do it again is to show just how many people love the wonderful Jadzia, thus making it that much more tragic when she dies. To a degree, I guess, it's okay. Having Vic sing Quark and Bashir a song, with the camera cutting to them as he sings "Here's to the losers" makes this at least entertaining.

In any case, the melodrama in the scenes leading up to Dax's death was laid on incredibly thick. All the talk of having a baby, all the happiness, all the excitement—and it's manipulative right down to the final line on her deathbed where she tells Worf, "Our baby would have been so beautiful." (Please, just pull out the tissues, already.) Surprisingly, Jadzia's death didn't hit me the way I hoped it would. I partially blame that on the fact that I've known for months that Terry Farrell would be leaving the series; the rest I attribute to the somewhat unsatisfying randomness of her demise.

But I'm not too worried, because it comes together so beautifully in terms of the larger picture. As a price for Sisko's choices, it was exactly what we needed for this episode, because, really, this episode is about the set of choices made by Benjamin Sisko. His decision to ignore the Prophets' warning was an agonizing choice he had to make in the best interests of the Alpha Quadrant, and his subsequent decision to take a leave of absence after everything goes wrong—which was the true hard-hitting moment of the episode for me—seemed like a choice that Sisko was forced into. This is a man who has carried the weight of practically an entire war in addition to all of Bajor—and now, with Bajor cut off from the Prophets and Dax dead for reasons Sisko sees himself as responsible for, he has reached a crossroads unlike anything he has encountered.

As far as lamenting on the dead is concerned, I believe it was a good idea that the show didn't lumber through Dax's funeral. One could argue that we already saw some of what we needed with O'Brien's speech last week in "The Sound of Her Voice"; and besides, showing Sisko's sole reaction to Jadzia's death keeps the story very focus on its narrative goals and the cost incurred to its central character. In context, Dax's death really works.

So, then, that brings me to the few but still notable things that I felt were off in "Tears of the Prophets." It's hard to put my finger on some of my troubled feelings specifically (some of my qualms are in the omission of things I would've liked to have seen), but I think my most significant complaint is that there are elements in Behr & Beimler's story that are out-and-out unclear. For example: Did Sisko (or anyone) know how Dax was killed? Did she tell someone before she died? Did anyone know that Dukat had beamed aboard the station? I'm guessing the answer to those questions are no, but depending on whether or not certain characters had knowledge of certain events, the ultimate meaning of Sisko's despair could be changed. I think it would work fine in any case, but I was still left with questions I would've liked answered.

Overall, there's a good amount of confusion that's open to interpretation. That's not always a bad thing in this episode (sometimes, in fact, it's a good thing), but I do wonder about the nature of the pah-wraiths. How many more of them are there? Is the existence of the evil connected somehow to the Reckoning that was halted in "The Reckoning"? Just what is the nature of the penance Sisko must pay from "Sacrifice of Angels"? Has he paid it here?

I'm not so sure I can answer all these questions at this point, or even if they will ever be answerable, but I will say this: "Tears of the Prophets" is an episode that prompted me to think deeply about character connections, the implications of various Bajoran prophecies, and the degree of Sisko's self-torture and need for answers. It's all open to debate and discussion and still has basis in solid characterization.

My perspective actually embraces some of the story's confusion and uncertainty, because such uncertainty is exactly what Sisko is struggling with—struggling with so intensely that he has to leave DS9 and walk away from Starfleet so he can clear his head and make sense of the chaos that is pulling Bajor down an uncertain path. He even takes his baseball with him, which, as anyone knows, is evidence of a grave situation. The episode's final scene on Earth, of a Sisko completely removed from everything we normally see him involved with, is a downright poignant moment that left me reflecting upon the state of the universe the character lives in.

When I get feelings like those, I know I've seen a standout episode. This episode was by no means perfect, but it has a lot going for it, and the more I ponder the possibilities, the more intrigued I am by them. DS9 has had a tendency to spin its wheels with many routine offerings this season, but with this finale I feel like we've gone out with some development and character changes that should impact storylines well into next season. Considering all the loose ends introduced here—Dukat floating around with his vengeful agenda; Sisko at a crossroads in his life; the collapse of the wormhole and the implications on Bajor; Federation troops landing on Cardassian soil; the question of whether we'll see Dax in a new host sometime in the future—I'm intrigued. A season finale should get its hooks into you, and "Tears of the Prophets" certainly got its hooks into me.

Upcoming: Reruns, reruns, reruns. I'll of course have the season recap, probably sometime in mid-July. In the meantime, no more reviews (except for movies, starting with The X-Files feature, which I'm sure I'll write sometime this week—but that's another story).

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Next episode: Image in the Sand

End-of-season article: Sixth Season Recap

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Comment Section

136 comments on this post

    The key to your review is: "I do wonder about the nature of the pah-wraiths."

    Big plot hole.

    I just watched season 6 marathon-style, and I was sort of glad when Dax got killed. She didn't seem to have anything to do this season. Of course, that's the writers' fault, but actors get all the praise, and the blame.

    Like baseball managers.

    I'm torn about Dax. I would have liked to have seen a funeral, sure, but like Ron Moore says, she just shows up again in the next episode, so she's not 'dead' in the traditional sense.

    Great episode though- especially Damar's expression when Weyoun says: "The founders are gods." Classic.

    Much like "Sacrifice of Angels", I found the death of a character who had been with the series for a while (in this case since it's beginning) to be both profoundly sad, and immensely unneeded. It isn't the fact that Terry was leaving (although would it have killed her to see the series to the end?), it was more in the way she died. It was random, contrived, and didn't even fit with stuff that happened in the episode. As someone I know once put it "the Prophets wanted Sisko to be at the station, but what would he have done?" Was he going to magically save Jadzia? Was he going to be able to stop Dukat and if so how?

    Not unlike one of my big disappointments with ST:Generations (it's not science, it's _magic_), the introduction of "Demonic Dukat" felt contradictory to the Star Trek way of having much based on technology (even gods many times). To an end, as much as I found the Prophets interesting, they also felt rather convenient. And let's not forgot the big contradiction of the Admiral claiming Sisko can't be both when he JUST GOT A MEDAL for having effectively been both through the entire ordeal. It's never been an issue before, why does it conveniently become one now?

    Only a handful of episodes in Season 6 truly disappointed me. Tears and Waltz were definitely among them, and only paved the way for more outlandish material to show up in the next season.. to which I'm still unhappy with their choice of "replacements" for Jadzia (who I was a big fan of), not to mention how quickly she showed up.

    I don't really like this episode. It's one of those that just tries to digest too much, handling major changes in not just one story arc but several.
    The invasion of Cardassia exemplifies this: the planning and preparation feels as if it's done in a matter of days, like spontaneously deciding on a friday you're going on a camping trip over the weekend.
    Apparently the defensive grid of just a single system is important enough to make the participation of the Romulans hinge on it, as if your buddy won't join you on your trip if it's going to rain. They decide to embark on the invasion without knowing for certain whether the defensive grid will be active, as if they couldn't be bothered to check the weather reports. And when they arrive, they find out on the spot how it functions and how it can be disabled. Like buying an umbrella in the first shop that has one when it turns out it's raining after all. It's a silly way to present a major military campaign.

    The acting was alright, but this episode really should have cut one of the substories and presented the others in a proper fashion.

    This was even worse than Yar's death in "Skin of Evil." Why? Because we got the great "Yesterday's Enterprise" from that & nothing satisfying from this

    I think it's rather silly that Starfleet would ask Sisko to plan the invasion of Cardassia. Is he the only competent officer in the entire Quadrant? Aren't their military experts sitting in a office on Earth (and other planets) whose JOB it is to make these plans?

    However, I do like Jadzia's death scene. She was just in the worng place at the wrong time, which is how most deaths from non-natural causes happen. To me, it is somehow MORE tragic for her to die this way then to go out in a melodramatic act of herosim (which has been done so many times before). I wish her scene with Worf had been a little longer, but that guttural scream he does is a real tear-jerker.

    Plus, now Sisko has ANOTHER reason to hate Dukat.

    I'll greatly miss Terry Farrell from season 7. Nicole de Boer is a very pretty woman herself, but there is something about Jadzia that Ezri doesn't have. I don't know if my infatuation is with the actress or the character she portrays, but it's a damn shame DS9's final season will be without Jadzia.

    As for the rest of the episode, it was good entertainment. I was a bit disappointed with the space battle scene, but to be honest average that has been a trend for quite some time in Star Trek IMHO... the series' main appeal lies elsewhere, and there's plenty of great stuff to make up for poor space battles.

    Marco, I don't know what you mean. I think Deep Space Nine has shown some of the most engaging space battles of any television series (or film, for that matter). The effects are always slam-bam, the pacing perfect, and they always introduce a new element to give each battle its' own feel (in this case, the orbital weapons platforms). I have only seen a few episodes of BSG, but so far I have seen nothing on that show that can compare to "Die is Cast" or "Sacrifice of Angels".

    I think, Nic, that is because the new BSG was pretty much a crappy soap-opera set in space. There was so much drama and stuff hidden behind the scenes (even the ending was vague and disappointing). They focused too much on religion and modern-day issues like rape and existential debates and such, that they didn't focus on the Science Fiction or Fantasy.

    Part of what made DS9 (and to some extent Voyager) so good and sustainable over the years was that it didn't make the religion and the Prophets the MAIN focus of the series. It was a subplot, a side story that got returned to occasionally. I don't particularly think much of DS9 as a genuine Star Trek show, but more of a Babylon 9 or Stargate Atlantis style show where the focus is on the battles being fought at least in the later seasons.

    DS9 also did, by far, have incredible space battles. I don't think there's anything else like it in the other Star Trek series, and not in a lot of other expansive science fiction shows, either.

    Well, first let me admit I never liked Jadzia - I don't really know why but I'm not sorry she's gone at all.

    The serious flaw in this episode was Sisko choosing to go on the mission instead of staying on the station. After all he had been through with the prophets, had they ever lied to him? Especially after he basically failed them in 'the reckoning', I was waiting for him to tell the Admiral 'Then I choose to be Emissary' when he was given an ultimatum.

    After all, he had seen the Defiant go off on missions without him dozens of times already, and did he actually *do* anything during this mission? He didn't need to be there at all.

    After all the time we've spent seeing Sisko gradually coming to accept that the prophets are 100% real and he is the genuine Emissary, his choice here was completely against character.

    People saying that he wouldn't have prevented Dax's death if he had been there anyway - well we don't really know. He might have accompanied Dax to her first Orb experience to guide her, he might have been standing behind Dukat when he transported in, he might have shot him right then with a phaser and sent the pag-wraith running away... who knows?

    I think we have to take at face value the idea that the prophets simply knew that if he stayed, Dukat would have been prevented from killing the orbs like he did.

    Also note that the Orbs were the important thing. The prophets didn't care about Dax getting killed. They needed Sisko there to stop the pag-wraith getting into the Orbs and then (somehow) closing up the wormhole.

    Actually, the whole idea of the wraith just getting into the Orb, and from there somehow killing the other Orbs and then closing the wormhole for good seemed like a shortcut. They could have spent more time creating a dramatic battle involving Dukat as the Wraith's physical form.

    Anyway, I loved the final scene between Weyoun, Damar and the hilariously mad Dukat at the end - every time Dukat reveals another way in which he has won a major victory, both Weyoun and Damar shout 'Well, so what?' in sheer horror...

    Dukat genuinely doesn't seem to notice that nobody else gives a crap about the pain he's dealt to both Bajor and Sisko.

    It was absolutely hilarious and I hope Weyoun skins Dukat alive when he returns 'triumphant' to Cardassia.

    I guess the writers had to get the wormhole closed, and Dax killed somehow, and it was easiest to let Sisko go off against all instinct and fail to protect the prophets.

    One final whine... it seemed absurd for Bashir to come out of 'surgery' wearing the red gown as if he had been elbow-deep in guts... and he says 'I saved the symbiont but I couldn't do anything for Jadzia'... and in the very next scene she's still speaking! Errr... wouldn't a doctor be still there trying every possible thing until she has definitely died? Even today, doctors have about half an hour worth of stuff to try *after* a person dies, to try and get them back.

    It seems logical to me, given the medical tech we've seen time after time on this show, that if a human is capable of speech, i.e. the brain is still active, then a competent Starfleet doctor could keep the brain alive practically forever while a new body is grown from DNA or something?

    I bet that the EMH from Voyager would have had Jadzia up and running around in a couple of days.

    We know that she had to die, of course, because Farrell wasn't returning. But in that case she should have been dead and stone cold when Sisko and Warf get there. But no, the writers can't help themselves and they just *have* to give us the 'dying in Warf's arms' scene. It was pathetic. If they wanted the dying scene, they should have had Bashir in there frantically trying to keep her alive at the same time.

    As it was, it made her death seem really bizarre, almost like terrible fan-fiction.

    Still, it was a reasonable end to a mixed-bag season 6. It's great that I have no memory at all of what happens next season, even though it's only been 2 years since the last time I watched the whole thing. It will be like a new series again.

    "his role here is one of a cavalier, albeit intriguing, loose cannon"

    if u think about it, doesnt it describe Dukat since Day 1?
    Prefect, to Gul who menances DS9 in season 1, season 2 swashbuckling co-hero with Sisko against Maquis, season 3 disgraced gul, season 4 renegade on his klingon ship, season 5 leader of dominion cardassia

    people talk about post waltz as if he lost his story, he has always been a gollum (or fans of Wheel of Time, Padan Fain) character. a loose cannon who does his own thing all the time and self serving. the pagh wraighs were another element of his self serving behavior, to undermine bajor and sisko.

    the only difference after waltz, he kinda had a fanatical pseudo religious belief system. but he also had allies in the paghwths, but htat is nothing new, he had run to the Dominion before. so I dont think there was ever a perfect time for Dukat, he did his own thing all the time, and that made him fascinating (now the red eyes, i can agree were silly)

    Marco P, the thing Ezri is missing that Jadzia had - confidence, grace, attitude and she was womanly.
    I like Ezri, but she's cute, ditzy, unsure of herself which is the exact opposite of Jadzia.

    I do wonder why Jadzia was left in charge of the station and Kira was taken on the Defiant. I mean I know it was to kill Jadzia off, but wouldn't the Bajoran Station have been left in the capable hands of its second in command who isn't a Starfleet officer?
    It just seems odd to me, even though it does lead to a tremendous death scene - I even loved Dukat almost apologising to Jadzia afterwards.

    It's unfortunate that when characters are written off, they are handed senseless deaths.

    I find the medical tech in ST baffling. On one show they can keep a guy alive for days with half a "posentronic" brain, or use holographic organs. Then the next day a breathing and talking person just dies while the good doctor has left the room and given up.

    Plus the idea that a captain would plan a major invasion is absurd. What are the dozens of admirals doing? Did Major Winters plan the Normandy invasion?

    This is season 6 and still people can't understand that when a host looses the symbiont, the host dies by a matter of hours (shorter for jadzia cause she was injured). Also remember that a symbiont can be put in and taken out while the patient is awake. Even if she wasn't due to surgery, they have hyposprays to wake people up. Anyway, Terry left because she's gotten an offer for another show and DS9 was known to have 1 last season. The DS9 people just could or would not work with her on scheduling being that she'd be on 2 tv shows.

    Can somebody explain to me why they would put Jadzia in charge of the station instead of having her at the helm of the defiant. I mean, why would you leave behind your best pilot when going into a major battle, makes no sense to me.

    Jadzia did not deserve to die and sure not the pointless way it happened. But that was probably the intention, in the wrong place at the wrong time... no meaning to it, no heroism, nothing.
    I'm just afraid that ds9 lost its most important character here. Not from a storyline point of, Dax has always been more of a supporting character but Jadzia Dax was the heart and soul of this crew. She kept the family together with her warmth, her joy for live, her passion. Hell, she managed to even soften up Worf a bit. What I missed most in sesion 7, though, is the Sisko-Jadzia relationship. Their extremely strong bond, their chemistry, it just worked for me and I think it's on of Trek's best and strongest friendship. I realize the friendship lasted in the form of Sisko-Ezri but somehow it was not the same. Somehow, there's always been this big black hole, something was just missing once Jadzia was gone and you were constantly reminded of it in the form of Ezri.

    Jadzia was left in charge of the station because after the episode "Change of Heart" Jadzia and Worf were not permitted to be on the same mission together. At least that is what I think!

    As for the prophets and the pagh-wraiths, I think it is interesting that both the Federation and the Dominion have trouble acknowledging their powers. Seems rather short-sighted, but I guess there's a universal tendency to disbelieve all other religions but one's own -- even when faced with evidence. In this episode it is interesting that Dukat prioritizes the pagh-wraiths more than Sisko prioritizes the prophets.

    I hated that Jadzia had to die. She's my favorite character and I loved her relationship with Worf. I'll never watch season seven again, this is the end of the series for me.

    Jadzia is my favorite and her absence from season 7 was very much noticed. She had a unique relationship with most of the characters (Sisko, Worf, Kira, Bashir) and in season 7 I never get that feeling of connection between the characters. Yeah Kira had Odo, Ben had Cassidy and Jake, Bashir had O Brien but I didn't felt them as a team anymore. Maybe it was the final season and they were so many subplots but I also think that Jadzia was missing terribly. She always brought out the best in others and her friendship with Sisko was an important part for his character (and Ezri even with the Dax symbiont didn't have the wisdom, confidence and elegance to fill the void, she was never the old man). Also Jadzia's friendship with Kira brought out the lighter side of Kira wihich I also missed in season 7. And of course her relationship with Worf. Michael Dorn said that he thinks that the best part of his character development in DS9 was the relatiopnship between Worf and Jadzia and that it made him a more three-dimensional character and I couldn't agree more. I love Worf in TNG but in DS9 he became more real, Jadzia balanced him nicely. In my opinion Jadzia's death "hurt" the other characters as well.

    I loved Jadzia and I hated that she died. She's an amazing character and she deserved more. Not to mention that Worf losing someone he loved was done before. Couldn't the writers come up with something more original to deal with Dax's absence from season 7? How about missing in action or be on a cover operation and return for the finale arc. That would be something really challenging and it could actually work with good writing.

    I couldn't agree more with you Mark.
    Jadzia was clearly the heart and soul of this crew. Her passion and positive attitude just made the other characters come to life so much more.
    The other characters were clearly "hurt" by Jadzia's death a great deal. Just imagine the whole of ds9 without the Sisko-Jadzia friendship (one, if not the strongest friendship in all of Star Trek), withouth Bashir-Jadzia, Kira-Jadzia, Quark-Jadzia, Worf-Jadzia...
    Needless to say that I think that killing off Jadzia was a big mistake. She was the pivotal ds9 character, the light in the darkness. She was greatly missed in session 7.

    I pretty much agree with everything said in the review though having Sisko stay behind would likely have changed a lot of peoples actions and reactions leading up to and including Dukats arrival on the station. In fact, had Sisko stayed behind, it is very probable that Jadzia would have gone on the mission.

    But this is all speculation. It really sucked that she had to die. When this ep first aired I actually was one of the three people that didn't know of Terry's departure from the show so I was completely floored. I was also a bit pissed at the manner in which she died then I reminded myself that sometimes people, even great people, can die from anything.

    Anyway before I start rambling I just wish that Terry could have finished the series. She was a great actress and performed her role as Jadzia Dax with grace and style. Not to mention absolutely gorgeous.

    I don't want to downplay Nicole de Boer's role as Ezri...I thought she did a great job in the role she was given (and is very pretty as well) but I think it may have affected season 7 stories not having Terry finish.

    Jadzia Dax is and always will be my favorite character in the series. This is a very sad episode. I wish she hadn't die but hey it's a sci-fi series involving time travel and parallel universes, no ones really dead in sci-fi.

    Jadzia was so awesome to be killed off. The writers did drop the ball here

    What goes around comes around: Obi Wan feeling the "disturbance in the Force" was ripped off from Spock feeling the death of the all Vulcan crew of the Intrepid in "The Immunity Syndrome."

    One of the saddest episodes of DS9, Jadzia is my favorite character, the series isn't the same without her!

    Enormous gratitude to whomever designed the new Romulan uniforms...the 80s style shoulderama ones were ridiculous...

    Head canon: When Sisko joined the Prophets he existed in a non linear realm and before he left he said to Kassidy that he would return maybe in the future or maybe in the past. In my mind he returns before Jadzia’s death, he saves her life and she and Worf have their happy ending with their baby.
    In a show with godlike beings, parallel realities, a new canon timeline, time travel etc. I can’t see Jadzia staying dead for long.

    I love that idea. I strongly believe that when Sisko joined the Prophets he brought Jadzia back. In the episode Ascension we see that the Prophets have the power to alter one event in the past (they returned the poet in his own time) without altering the present. If that's possible anything is.

    I like the idea of Jadzia returning after the series finale, she and Worf are my favorite characters of the show and I would love to see them happy.

    Jadzia is too awesome to be gone for good! I'm sure when Sisko became a prophet he brought her back!

    "I love Worf in TNG but in DS9 he became more real"

    NONE of Worf's DS9 moments matched the power of the moment in TNG when he kills Duras.

    Srsly? SRSLY? wtf...?

    As much as it's been nice having Jadzia around for a few more episodes, a death in Change of Heart would have been MUCH more beautiful.

    This was so... "I'm leaving the show, so something I'd normally live right through if I were staying is totally gonna kill me mmmkay?" when compared to Change of Heart, which would have been "Your. Death. Has. A. Bearing. On. The. PLOT!"

    That being said, losing *Dax* would have sucked. *Dax* was cool whether he was Curzon, Jadzia, or that weird guy from Children of Time.

    Okay, okay, I wrote that when Gul Dukat zapped her.

    Everybody's *reaction* to her death is worth it.


    The writer in me would be gleeful reading these comments, because really when you kill a main character, what you really want to do is torture the fans. You want them to be angry, upset, so you know when you've really connected. It bothered me in 1998, but looking back I can seen why it was a good way to deal with Terry Farrell leaving. A heroic death would have been too pat and predictable. Here she dies for no good reason, which always hurts more, and, as people have said above, she really was the heart of the cast. Killing her sends shockwaves through most every other character and sends them drifting away from each other, aimless and lost.

    The baby stuff was heavy handed though. And her being "on her deathbed" does seem awkward with 24th century science, as people have said, but keep in mind that Bashir had probably already removed the symbiont by that point, and it's been established joined Trill die within three hours of separation. The reasons are still a bit vague, but once you accept Bashir *had* to remove the symbiont for whatever reason, having her alive but him knowing all is lost becomes easier to swallow.

    Her dying in Change of Heart would have been far superior, however.

    So, after the countless times that the Prophets have aided the Federation, they still can't accept that these "wormhole aliens" are real. You don't even have to accept them as gods, but its stupid to write them off as non-essential the way the Federation does.

    From the moment they stopped the Dominion reinforcements from getting through the wormhole, I would have been doing my best to keep them on my side. And if that meant leaving Sisko on DS9, then so be it. I hate how the Federation was constantly giving Sisko crap about the Prophets when it was clear they wanted to see Bajorans thrive.

    Even people like Bashir had this smug attitude that they weren't really there. Did they seriously think Sisko was making this up? They seemed to act that way, at least.

    As far as the episode goes, I'm conflicted. This is my first time watching DS9, but I knew Dax would die since the first season because I had accidentally read about it on another website. Her death didn't touch me at all the way I thought it would. She was my favorite character, but her death felt kind of wasted. It felt like they killed her just so they could. I will miss her in Season 7 though. That's for sure.

    You can tell DS9 was really starting to show its age by this point. Confused Matthew aptly called this episode the point where things went to shit with this show.

    The whole battle was reminiscent of Star Wars, which wasn't necessarily a bad thing but did make me laugh. I expected Damar to announce his "fully armed and operational" defense array, and for that moon by the power grid to be named Endor.

    It is pretty clear from future episodes that everyone knows that Dukat killed Jadzia.. So the question for me remains: why did Worf not want revenge on Dukat? Why was his sole desire to fight a big battle in Jazia's name the only response to her death? Think back to the last time somebody killed one of his mates. The lieutenant commander grabbed a sword and went hunting after the guy. Also notice that in previous episodes it is been established that if Worf believes a Klingon warrior is entering The afterlife of the Klingons, he not only lets off a growl that shakes the room but he also opens the person's eyes. Remember when he kills Gowron in season seven? The answer to question is easy just like the answer to the other question. He does not open her eyes when he screams because it would look weird to do that for a woman. Also he does not vow revenge upon the series main bad guy because that is a job for the captain to take care of. But unfortunately this creates a conflict in the character of Worf. He should have been more Klingon and less Federation.

    @Sam S: That's actually a really good point. Shouldn't season 7 have involved Worf trying to track down and kill Dukat? I suppose they could have written around this by saying Worf thought it best to honor Jadzia by trying to win the war ...

    But it's very clear that the DS9 crew knew who killed Jadzia (Kira calls him out for it in "Covenant"). Presumably, a dying Jadzia told Bashir in her last moments or their was surveillance footage or something.

    I shed no tears about Jadzia's loss... hollowly acted, arrogant, boring... the worst incarnation of Dax for sure.

    OUTSTANDING review, Jammer. As with all of your good reviews, you articulate most of the things I appreciate about an episode as well as call out the flaws that bothered me. And, as with all of your absolute BEST reviews, such as this one, you elucidate the strengths and weaknesses that escaped me when I watched the episode myself for the first (or second) time. Sometimes I feel the need to watch an episode again after I've read one of your analyses. This is one of those times. Your site has made my re-watching of the various Trek series feel fresh again, and for that, speaking as a full-on Trek nerd since childhood, I thank you SINCERELY. Now... ON TO SEASON 7!


    On rewatching this episode, that's the thing that struck me the most. The intervention of the Prophets during Sacrifice of Angels was the only thing that saved THE ENTIRE FEDERATION, not to mention the Alpha Quadrant as a whole. What else would the Prophets have to do for Starfleet to take them or Sisko's connection to them seriously? Bah. I don't believe for a minute that Ross would pressure Sisko this way after that, and I also don't believe that Sisko would ignore the Prophets warning no matter what Ross said. Sisko has been on a series long evolution as the Emissary. At this point, he fully accepts his connection to the Prophets. He begged them for a miracle and they gave it to him, saving him, as well as everyone and everything he cares about. It's inconceivable that he would ignore their warning now. He literally owes them everything.

    @Michael and Clark: Excellent points. The sad thing is that Ross didn't need to be so hard-headed for the plot to work. He and Sisko could have had a conversation and both been very torn about what to do in this situation. They could have decided that despite the prophets' warnings, Sisko was still needed in the attack. Making the prophets' comments more ambiguous might have helped too.

    Not as good as previous season finales. Disappointing end to a major character.


    The Federation attitude towards the prophets is beyond ridiculous at this point. The prophets obliterated an entire Dominion fleet and the a

    Shoot, I didn't think hitting enter after answering the antispam question would post :( Sorry

    Anyway here's the rest

    The Federation attitude towards the prophets is beyond ridiculous at this point. The prophets obliterated an entire Dominion fleet and the Admiral is still talking about them like they are an inconsequential and fictitious bit of religious hokery. They're real! They're probably the biggest asset the Alpha Quadrant has in the war! If the prophets send Sisko a vision saying it is his destiny to become the galaxy's greatest freestyler, then the Federation should throw their full weight behind that just to appease them.

    What's worse, the show has been treating the prophets the same way for SIX YEARS. By this point, it would have been nice to have some concrete answers about the nature of the prophets and their relationship with Bajor and Sisko. As a viewer, it's really unsatisfying to see the prophets become major, direct participants in the war at the beginning of the season, only get a few vague prophecy related episodes thrown our way, then have an Admiral go "hurf durf I've been indulgent with you long enough Sisko time to give up your role as emissary to the most important aliens in the Alpha Quadrant so you can personally lead an invasion that could be better planned and executed by top level Federation officers with relevant training". Then Sisko gets a headache in the middle of it and contributes nothing.

    Of course, a much better episode than the lame ones DS9 delivered in the second half of this season. But the worst season finale so far. Not to mention the last step to overthrown all Trek universe reality. For instance: Dukat has become a Star Wars Lord Sith, with all those video game super powers. Sisko's business with the prophets is so overused in key moments of the main arcs that at this point, it feels just lazy writing: the prophets are always there to give a magic insight, to save the day, or just to throw more magictechnobabble on us viewers.

    This 6th season was a mess and put DS9 simply completely out of Star Trek. This episode was not all bad, off the target or off the pace. But not good either: the easiness to win the battle, the downplay with Dex scenes... Oh, did I mention the super-powered Dukat, who keeps losing dimensionality and, worse, making the past character development pointless? A shame, a pity.

    Oh yes, and the huge happening for one of the crew was incredibly poorly handled, not effective and not emotional.

    For me, DS9 is a bit lost and very much adrift. I'll be hoping for a better last season.

    Jadzia was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Life and death work that way. Perhaps if Sisko had stayed, the Prophets would have had him intercept Dukat, or Dukat would have been unable to resist going directly after Sisko. Still, the Prophets could have been more clear why they wanted Sisko to stay, but perhaps they are communicating as best as they can.

    Federation medicine does seem to make little sense - people die when the script says they die, even when 21st century medicine might have had a chance.

    I think we should give Ric an award for inventing the term "magictechnobabble".

    From season 2 and on, I have really enjoyed DS9. Season 5 was (mostly) amazing. But I hate this episode and what it says about season 7... The preponderance of "religion" and "emissionary" stuff is getting on my nerves, and I feel like I'm watching Stargate SG1 rather than Star Trek. I don't like that. (Currently watching season 7 episode 1, and I'm not liking it).

    I hate how suddenly everyone in ST is religious and a "believer" in sort some of local planetary religion (since of course, as typical for ST, there's only one religion per planet).

    It was bad enough that I had to swallow a magic fire monster, but then I had to swallow the premise that she didn't die from that attack too.

    @Trent Many thanks! I would like to share this award with all my brave fellows who have managed to get through the whole DS9 Season 6 and, worse, the next one, bravely facing with their hearts in their hands, all the magictechnobabbled episodes. These true Trek soldiers, I am convinced, boldly went to where no Trek fan should have ever had to go before (or ever).

    What Ric said.

    Not understanding why Dukat is suddenly eager for just-plain-vengeance against Sisko. I thought 'Waltz' showed him desperate to save Sisko's life because he was driven (by guilt and vanity) to win Sisko's friendship. Even leaving on the runabout in that ep, he signaled the Defiant so Sisko wouldn't die. Or did I misunderstand something?

    So let me get this straight. Jazdia Dax, a Trill officer with the rank of Lieutenant Commander is told to stay at the station during a very important and critical mission in the Dominion War. But NOG who is an ENSIGN is right up there on the bridge, mixing it up with the Captain and piloting one of the most powerful ships in Starfleet!? Are you kidding me!? I'm not joking people this little guy is worse than Wesley Crusher.

    At least Wesley had a lot of growing up to do and finding out who is he, Nog just goes from Ferengi to blindly devoted Starfleet officer who get's all the best missions! I honestly feel sorry for any other ensign or cadet put up against this guy! It's like "Oh, who's going on the away mission?" "Ensign Nog and Ensign Red Shirt!"

    Red Shirt: "Crap."

    I know Terry Farrell was leaving the show and her contract was up. But Nog should've been left behind, and Nog was the one who should've died. This is not up for debate.

    Wow, I'm not sure I like or hate this one.

    When I bought DS9 and watched it for the first time, I did not know she seeked employment elsewhere. I was FLOORED by her death and equally pi$$ed that that frakin punk Dukat did it. Man was I upset. So sad Decker couldn't have waited a year, or that she didn't finish DS9 first before going over. She really grew on me throughout the series and had really become one of my favorite characters. Another point.... why the frak did she have to die? How about a transfer, blah, blah... oh, then Sisko wouldn't have an "old man" to confide in next season. Her death chaps my ass to this day.

    Well, the Federation attitude towards religion is not a surprise, but you'd think that they would realize the fact that the Dominon reinforcements can't come through the wormwhole is the ONLY reason everyone in the Alpha Quadrant isn't speaking "founder". They might think twice about contradicting what Sisko asks for when he hears from them. Head scratcher there.

    Jadzia not at the helm of the Defiant during battle? …. And Nog gets the call? ***slaps forehead***

    I also thought the Bashir/Quark sobbing over Dax grew quite old.

    Little nit pick about the battle. When they finally figure out how to blow up the power generation asteroid (some pretty serious O’Brien technobabble BTW) it looked like only 1 or 2 of those platforms shot at it. It should have been all of them. It would have been much more pleasing visually and dramatically I think.

    Does anyone else besides me think Dukat’s little PW trick should have worked? I think DS9 was more “DS9” when the wormhole was working…

    “DAX: Our baby would have been so beautiful.” Snif….snif….

    The writers REALLY screwed the pooch with Jadzia’s death. It should have been in ‘Change of Heart’

    Well, I’ll give it 3 stars… I don't think this was as strong as other DS9 season closers. Not surprising really with the quality of the end of season 6.

    Oh lord. It is amazing how something you once thought was solid turns out to be shaky as all hell in hindsight. For its time, this episode was spectacularly written. But 14+ years later you can really see the flaws.

    First, about Jadzia's death. I'm surprised no one has mentioned this. Terry did NOT want Jadzia killed! When she made her decision to leave, she specifically suggested to the writers to have Dax promoted and transferred; that way she could return as a guest star throughout the 7th season.

    The writers, including the lauded Ron Moore, decided instead to kill her off and give us Ezri. If they had just taken her up on her offer; we wouldn't have had this whole mess to deal with. As the Season 7 episode shows, they were going for the "death can happen at any time" angle; but it kills me that it was so unnecessary. I think I speak for everyone when I say 5 or 6 episodes of Jadzia beats all-season of Ezri any day.

    Next thought: I've said it before, I'll say it again. Sisko should have been promoted to Rear Admiral. Then, in consultation with other Admirals, planned the invasion. It would have made so much more sense. Sigh.

    I also have to agree with the ridiculous notion of the Federation's attitude toward the Prophets. It really makes no logical sense and has to be one of the biggest plot holes in DS9's entire run. Hey, these aliens which we know exist just destroyed a fleet of 2,000 Dominion ships and are preventing almost certainly far more from coming through.

    Let's just ignore their advice, act against them, and piss them off! >__< If they had demanded Sisko cut open and hung from the Promenade by his intestines it should have been a scramble of Admirals grabbing knives and wildly stabbing! Its that serious of a contribution the Prophets are making! They literally are the only thing preventing the Federation's annihilation.

    Its not even that hard to make Sisko staying work. Just go back to the beginning of the season for the answer. Worf transfers to the Rotarran. Dax commands the Defiant. Sisko stays on the station. Literally how this season was after Rocks and Shoals.

    Ughhhhh! So many plot holes! Such awful, terrible, crappy writing! What, did they just get drunk and say screw it? They were capable of so much better than this.

    Final note: Anyone notice that after Sacrifice the CGI budget seems to have been cut? Reused footage, yes, shorter scenes, yes. But what really kills me is the much smaller fleet sizes. Don't give me the whole "war was wearing them down" crap; there is no way in hell that the entire Federation invasion fleet consisted of 20 ships. It is simply lazy CGI. I just try to imagine I'm watching a small battle group of a considerably larger fleet.

    M.P. "...5 or 6 episodes of Jadzia beats all-season of Ezri any day."

    Although not an Ezri-hater, I can safely second this motion.

    "Sisko should have been promoted to Rear Admiral."

    After re-viewing the series finale, I must second this motion, too. In those climactic battles, Sisko, of all captains, personally teleconferences with Admiral "I Saved the UFP, Really" Ross and the Klingon High Frickin' Chancellor. Not because he's the Emissary of the Prophets. Not because he commands a strategic station. Just because he's the star of the show.

    With that, I had the same hindsight revealing the raggedy seams of DS9. Way too stage-y, I thought. Way too theatrical. The scope is so limited. The doom of Cardassia carried great, gloomy weight upon first viewing. Seeing it again, it's as Roger Corman famously bragged: showing the Fall of the Roman Empire with three extras and a bush.

    One last thing: if Behr & Co. had wanted to send the series into its final summer break with the audience worried that Anyone Can Die (tm), I would've nominated Rom and/or Leeta. Throw in Vic Fontaine and you've surpassed "Mr. Worf, fire!" as an excuse to bring back viewers for Season 7.

    I think Jammer's review reflects my feelings on this pretty well. I think this is a good episode, but not as impactful or suspenseful as it wants to be ("Sacrifice of Angels" did this type of game-changing climax much better for a lot of reasons).

    I have a few issues with this episode:

    1: The pah wraiths vs. the wormhole. It's troublesome because it's now bringing the camp of "The Reckoning" to things that, well, actually matter. It's concerning, but the real problem is that the wormhole being closed isn't as much of a gut punch as it thinks it is. It doesn't even seem to be clear that that's what Dukat intended. It feels like a really obtrusive non sequitur in an episode that has so much more going on. Weyoun and Damar's reactions are pretty right-on: what does this have to do with *ANYTHING* right now?

    Don't get me wrong - the wormhole closing is a strong plot point for the series, but it's not conveyed with as much gravity as it probably should have been.

    2: Dax's death. It... works? Kind of, I guess. The problem is not that it doesn't work; it's that it could have been so much more affecting. I can't really think of a good reason why she couldn't go down on the Defiant in the heat of battle. That would, a) make the battle a lot more intense, and, b) add even more weight to the mounting casualties of war our characters are dealing with. I'm not talking about a blaze of glory, but something that the audience understands as death: war, battle, casualties, loyalties, anything like that. Not fire-zapped by the space devil.

    3) Dukat forgiving Damar is just way too easy. One could construe this as the typical Dukat manipulation, but this is a case of a character's worth falling short of the series' length. We've already seen Dukat rise, fall, rise again, and the be defeated. He's only still around because the SHOW is still around, and Alaimo is one of the best performers. But a story shouldn't have to FIND things for characters to do. Their value should be self-evident to the tale. Once their value is up, they need to get off at the next stop. At least Alaimo is good. A good performance can sell some terrible writing - hell, just look at BSG's third season finale.

    All this said, this is still a good hour. I know, I sound like I'm all over the place, but "Tears" is still a reasonably executed finale that juggles a lot of plot elements and pays off with Sisko finally having enough (the seeds of which were becoming obvious way back in "Far Beyond the Stars"). "Tears" just doesn't hit with the impact it should, and I think that's where a lot of people including me take issue with it.

    3 stars. Good, but we criticize because we love.

    Okay, I realize I should re-post (see: above) and say some good things about "Tears" if I'm going to claim its good when so many disagree.

    This is a two-part episode that is condensed into 45 minutes and *works*. That is, it doesn't feel rushed in the slightest. Keep in mind, this is *including* a scene in which Vic croons to Bashir and Quark.

    Here are the plots and character arcs this episode addresses:

    -The Feds and Klingons convincing the Romulans to attack Cardassian space.

    -The battle itself, with some of the cooler battle moments in the show, starring the Jem'Hadar suiciding into the Klingon fleet and Galaxy class starships being taken out by the Cardassian turret drones.

    -The Prophets, whose warnings are as self-serving as they've always been. They believe Sisko could have stopped Dukat, but he understandably leaves to lead the attack.

    -Dukat, returning to Cardassia and convincing Damar and Weyoun to let him use a pah wraith to re-open the wormhole.

    -Dax gets a few last scenes with some of her friends, played as just another day in the life of the station.

    -Kira and Odo get a couple of lovers' quarrels scenes together. These aren't really necessary, but I suppose it's nice to see Odo learning how to have a relationship.

    -Ross chewing out Sisko for being a fence sitter Jenner actually plays this scene really well. Watch him, while Sisko explains himself, trying to keep his cool even though he's clearly had enough.

    -Several strong Weyoun and Damar scenes. The stand out is the "Founders *ARE* gods" moment, but I also really enjoyed Weyoun straight up saying the Cardassians are a disappointment as an ally. I enjoy Weyoun's agitation with a campaign that should probably be going better than it is. Dukat was tough to rein in, and if the defector in "Change of Heart" and Garak's contacts from "In the Pale Moonlight" are any indication, the Cardassians are a poor business partner for the Dominion. Jammer's complained that the Dukat-Weyoun dynamic didn't have enough breathing room, but I think that dynamic transitions gracefully into the cracks we're seeing now.

    -The last 6 or 7 minutes of the show include Dax's farewell, Sisko talking to Dax's casket, Sisko saying goodbye to his crew in Ops, Kira and Odo talking in Sisko's office, and finally Sisko back in New Orleans. It's actually a really strong sequence, regardless of whether or not you approve of how Dax was killed.

    It's actually incredible that all of what I mentioned above is featured in a single episode and doesn't feel rushed. I do wish we could have gotten more here as a 2-part season finale, but I still think it satisfyingly closes the book on S6 while opening the doors for S7.

    The criticisms I made in the above post are still legit (and so are a lot of the criticisms in this thread) but I think this episode really has a lot going for it even with its problematic aspects.

    Not sure if this has already been raised elsewhere.

    When did the character of Jadzia Dax change to Terry Farrell playing herself?

    I reckon it was the beginning of Season 3.

    Simply I didn't like the idea of Jadzia being killed and being replaced by Ezri. Jadzia was a woman, a great one at that. Ezri is a child.

    I missed Jadzia after she died, it was a loss. Ezri was Dax but not Jadzia Dax. Ezri was a weak character, insesure and I won't say too young, she was almost the same age as Terry was in the beginning. At least Terry got a chance to work steady for 4 more years not like the other stars.

    So let me get this straight. Jazdia Dax, a Trill officer with the rank of Lieutenant Commander is told to stay at the station during a very important and critical mission in the Dominion War. But NOG who is an ENSIGN is right up there on the bridge, mixing it up with the Captain and piloting one of the most powerful ships in Starfleet!? Are you kidding me!? I'm not joking people this little guy is worse than Wesley Crusher.

    I can't agree with you more.It's ridiculous how Nog started off as illiterate, and even had to have Jake teach him how to read, but ended up being on every important mission, doing all the piloting, getting it Right On Every Occasion, and simply shooting up the ranks. Emissary's son's best friend? Check. First Ferengi ever to enter Starfleet? Check. Technological genius? Check. Son of the Grand Nagus? Check. Helllloooo Mary Sue. I found him so much more worse than Wesley Crusher, to be honest. Nog's self-righteousness was incredibly grating, and the way he was so patronising to people he considered 'below' him, and sucked up to the superiors. I seriously wanted to punch him in 'Valiant', or at least see Jake Sisko clock him one. Someone on TrekBBS posted a drabble about a conversation Harry Kim would have had with him once he'd gotten back from the Alpha Quadrant concerning promotions, which was hilarious.

    I thought this episode was fairly good, although it didn't quite match the velocity of previous season enders. I liked all the three-way scenes between Damar, Weyoun and Dukat - every time Dukat just barges in on Damar and Weyoun, and how they regale him with increasing incredulity whilst Dukat keeps trying to convince them how he and his Pah-Wraiths will save the day. My favourite scene was when the Chin'Toka system had just been taken by the Allies, and Dukat announces what a "great" victory he's won again for them, whilst Weyoun shouts at him, and Damar rolls his eyes and groans at the ceiling. The distinguishing characteristics of these three men are played out so vividly that it's a joy to watch.

    This is a good episode, but one that always pisses me off.

    #1) It sucks that they killed off Jadzia. I know Terry Farrell didn't want to stay on but re-assign her or something so she might come back later.

    #2) The crew (aside from Sisko) took the death of 'The Sound of Her Voice' chick worse than Jadzia's! And when the Defiant.. meandered.. itself back to the docking ring Worf should've been running his ass off to sickbay since she only had like 5 minutes left to live at that point.

    Damn this episode pisses me off, lol.

    Great GREAT visuals and space battles though, some of the best on the entire show's run.

    I just skipped a year of shows, but I'd like to say what bothered me was Admiral Ross. He had a lot of nerve giving Ben an ultimatum, at this point I would kiss the prophets' butts for getting rid of those Dominion ships in the wormhole. He should have been afraid to say no to them.

    Ever since season 5 when that Julian changling messed with the wormhole to make sure it didn't collapse, well Sisko should have asked the prophets for help because the moment that Pahwraith went in the wormhole, they closed it permanently. (or at least until they wanted it opened). So much for not being able to collapse the wormhole.

    Also, what makes Dukat think that the Pahwraiths can bring reinforcements from the Gamma Quadrant? The prophets made the Jem'Hadar disappear. I don't think they are somewhere waiting for permission to come through, they are GONE.

    Other than being sorry Jadzia died, these are the only things about the episode that bothered me. Now back to the beginning of Season 5.

    "The prophets made the Jem'Hadar disappear. I don't think they are somewhere waiting for permission to come through, they are GONE."

    In Star Trek Online they actually do pop out eventually and you have to deal with them years after the fact, like Akorem.

    I agree with the general sentiment about the plot holes.

    Ross AND Sisko going against the Prophet's wishes is just clown-shoes. It's like in some TV shows where fantastic things happen all the time, yet nobody believes the protagonist that something fantastical has happened. Here, every single prophecy has come true. So if the "wormhole aliens", the things that prevent Dominion reinforcements from coming through, tell you to do something, it's patently stupid to not do it.
    Though I will admit that Sisko choosing SF after that ridiculous ultimatum by the admiral was in line with his character - he does have that uniform fetish.

    Then there's our typical problem of Sisko apparently being not only the Emissary to the Bajoran people, but also the Messiah of Star Fleet. The only dude who can do anything. Star Trek and its captain worship.

    Was it ever explained why Dax didn't go on this mission? They usually take the whole merry bunch with them on every reconnaissance mission.
    Her death was quite good, actually. I like that it was almost casual and not super heroic (*cough* Wrath of Khan... *cough*)
    A bit sad about her, though her character was getting a bit long in the tooth...

    "Was it ever explained why Dax didn't go on this mission?"

    Although he only specifically said ALONE, some Trekker believe that it stems from "Change of Heart" that Dax/Worf are never assigned to a mission together after that.

    Here's what I understand about Terry Farrell's departure from DS9:

    Farrell knew there was only one more season left. Her contract was only through season 6. According to her, Paramount didn't have any hints of renewing for a 7th season, so she thought she was just done. She had lined up a read for the show Becker and the day after she filmed her death, she did her read.

    I've also read that the production company were in talks with Farrell to renew for one more season, but she had already made the decision to go to Becker before the read and kind of left the writers in the dark about the whole thing. Which perspective more true than the other is anyone's guess. But judging how they killed her in the show, the meaningless death seems more in line with the writers version. Especially because Farrell tried to negotiate cameo appearances of Dax (she didn't want Dax killed off) but the writers were like "na".

    For me this does something well, something OK, and something not well. The really good stuff is the action scenes, which again take a massive step up on the FX front. Have you noticed how things don't move in one plane anymore, as evidence by the glorious shot of the Valley Forge taking fire and spinning out of control past the camera. As visual eye candy this is top drawer.

    I found the death of the Dax to be OK, and that's a bit of a shame. It was rather too heavily contrasted with all the baby talk, and in the end seemed a little arbitrary, but nevertheless contributed to a melancholy end of an era feel to the end of the show that fit well. As a trigger for Sisko heading home it works.

    Less good is the further story of possessed Dukat and the pah-wraiths. Having a metaphysical struggle of good and evil going on already seems like a poor choice... Overall though, good stuff. 3 stars.

    Say what you will about "Tears of the Prophets," it's trying. After a season with wandering attention, the finale tries to make sense of the myriad plotlines which hardly fit together -- the Dominion War, the Romulan entry, the Prophets/Pah-Wraith battle, the Prophets smashing the Dominion fleet in "Sacrifice of Angels," the Occupation Arc as a whole, Sisko's penance, Dukat's turn from ordinary villainy to cartoon super-villainy -- as well as juggling personal stories paying off a dozen plotlines -- Worf and Dax on children, Julian and Quark's lovelorn selves, Vic, Kira/Odo, Garak's desire to free his people, Jake's journalism career, Damar and Dukat's first encounter since Damar killed Ziyal. This is packed and there seems to be an effort to say something about everyone and also to find a way to tie together disparate stories. So in that sense, I give credit.

    Along those lines, this is the episode where Sisko Finally Has To Choose! between Starfleet and the Prophets. In a sense, it's absolutely necessary to have this type of story at some point, because Sisko's acting like there's no conflict of interest is pretty galling. I think indeed that there is an ethical conflict between total devotion to taciturn, unpredictable superbeings and his responsibility to Federation values -- and I'd say that a failing of the series is that it does not actually explore this more. However, the episode's way of forcing the conflict is pretty bogus. First of all, the Wormhole Aliens destroyed the Dominion ships. That *both* Ross and Weyoun regard an effort to consider the Prophets' role in the war as utterly beneath notice (though Weyoun relents and has a "what's the harm" attitude) is ridiculous. My point is *not* that Ross should let Sisko do whatever he wants or let the Prophets do whatever they want, because if they really give a total wide berth to the Wormhole Aliens the Federation basically become serfs of sorts to the Wormhole Aliens, calling the shots. However, this is a case in which there is no direct contradiction; Sisko can just stay on the station and Worf (or Kira, who oddly takes over the Defiant instead of Worf) can run the Defiant. Where there should be a conflict is when the interests are absolutely opposed -- as in, say, "Rapture," or even "The Reckoning" where Sisko agrees to risk the whole damn station and a Federation citizen (his son).

    And as Confused Matthew pointed out in his epic takedown of this episode, the episode starts with Sisko being given a damn medal for recovering DS9, which, ahem, I seem to recall only being done because Sisko begged the WAs to intervene! If Ross really disapproves of Sisko's Emissary status to the point where he makes Sisko choose, he shouldn't be giving him a medal for what was essentially Sisko leveraging his relationship with the Prophets to "win" the station back. This is part of the big contrivance of this episode (series) -- that Sisko is so great a military commander that he should plan the whole invasion of Cardassia and should shunt aside his Emissary status despite being a captain and not an admiral, which the episode bolsters by having Ross give him the medal at the opening, when in fact Sisko's military victory in "Sacrifice" was *because* he was the Emissary! So, again: *THIS* is the hill that Ross orders Sisko to die on? And can Sisko really not even articulate that, hey, the Prophets saved us out there, maybe we should listen to them?

    Meanwhile, Dukat's alignment with the Pah-Wraiths does seem to be Dukat trying to make himself as an anti-Emissary, and the Dominion, if nothing else, "deserves" this victory by Weyoun and Damar 1) recognizing that Dukat's fanaticism makes him a poor choice for military leader and 2) that hey, it's worth a shot to try to deal with, you know, the beings who are *actually preventing Dominion reinforcements to enter*. Dukat, unlike Sisko, knows what his priorities are, if they are specious -- he seems to be a Pah-Wraith True Believer (whatever that means) first and a Cardassian patriot distant second, but is also able to articulate why those interests are aligned in a way Sisko obviously should have been able to do. That Weyoun is contemptuous of the idea of trying to deal with the Prophets when they are genuinely a barrier for Dominion reinforcements is strange -- I guess he lacks imagination -- but his response to Dukat is also pretty perfect:

    WEYOUN: You're right, Dukat, you have changed. You've gone from being a self important egotist to a self deluded madman. I hardly call that an improvement.

    Yup. Anyway, Dukat's devotion to the Pah-Wraiths *because Sisko is devoted to the Prophets* is our sense of the new Dukat, post-"Waltz," whose every motivation comes down to Sisko. It's Sisko's fault that Damar killed Ziyal, which makes *no* sense. (Confused Matthew goes through this well also. If Damar argued it was Kira's for stirring up trouble so that Ziyal felt she had to break the law and help her escape, or Quark's for getting Ziyal involved, that would be one thing, but, ahem, Ziyal's actions had nothing to do with Sisko and thus neither did Damar's. How did Sisko "force [Damar's] hand"?) Sisko gets to be the Emissary so Dukat will do the opposite. Sisko hops left, Dukat will hop right. Great clarity. It's not that it's inconceivable that this kind of obsession could develop in a once-powerful tyrant -- look at Khan -- but it's hardly interesting in Dukat's case, where he had so many other motivations before, ahem, *this* happened. The flattening of the character is really hard to watch, and the only thing that makes the scenes on Cardassia Prime watchable is Weyoun and Damar's frankly *hilarious* facial expressions throughout -- when Dukat starts chanting to his voodoo doll before breaking open the Evil Fire Monster [TM Confused Matthew], Damar's expression is a mixture of embarrassment, confusion and a kind of desperate hope that this will go somewhere and Weyoun looks bored and annoyed that they are giving Dukat any time at all. Fantastic. Also hilarious: Dukat's vidconference with Weyoun and Damar at the end, which boils down to something like:

    DUKAT: I've got bad news and good news. The bad news is, instead of Dominion reinforcements coming through the wormhole, there is no more wormhole.
    WEYOUN: What!? What is the good news?
    DUKAT: Sisko's pretty bummed out.
    WEYOUN: How is that good news?
    DUKAT: Well, it's good news for me.

    The Pah-Wraith turning all the orbs black is -- I don't even know what to make of this stuff. Obviously this is no longer science-fiction in a meaningful sense, but fantasy, which by itself doesn't necessarily trash things for me. But, importantly, it's *bad* fantasy. There is no sense of a coherent set of rules by which the Prophets/Pah-Wraith conflict operates, and I have no idea why one Pah-Wraith can turn the orbs black and close the wormhole when there are so many Prophets. But whatever -- I can accept dumb mechanics if I can understand the point. The show is still portraying the Prophets as Gods, and so this is some kind of Gods/Devils kind of thing, which is weird -- especially because it does seem to suggest that there is some sort of ethical spiritual conflict going on, even though the Prophets and the Pah-Wraiths' moral qualities are never particularly qualified except that Keiko and Jake let us know that the Pah-Wraiths have lots of hate (got it). The girl at the end saying that the Bajorans feel their gods have abandoned them and Sisko's statement that the Prophets have "turned their backs on Bajor" suggest that people interpret this as the Prophets throwing some sort of hissy fit rather than the result of them being defeated or pushed back by the Pah-Wraiths, which seems inconsistent with the way the Bajorans worship them as beings of unconditional love (as Bareil indicated) or whatever.

    So Sisko, for once, chooses Starfleet, even though this is not an occasion where there is a conflict of *values* or anything but merely a conflict between an order and...not. So Dukat goes on the station and kills Jadzia. Ouch. One Dukat moment I did like is his apology, of sorts, to Dax -- that he did not wish *her* any harm. Let's talk about this, and the very end, shall we? Sisko goes on about how he should have been there and Dax is dead because of him -- if only Sisko were on the station.... This structure actually makes some sense. It is pretty strange for *Dax* to be on the station instead of Kira, but okay, let's accept that for now. What if Dukat had actually gone to Ops? Or, somehow or another, Dax had had a confrontation with Dukat as the current *station commander*, which she lost? If this were the case, it would twist the knife for Sisko much further -- suggest that he was "meant" to be the one to confront Dukat, and it would also establish that Dax is more than just a hopeful future mother. As is, Dax only encountered Dukat because for the first time ever, she happened to stop by the Bajoran shrine. (Message: never pray.) (I'm kidding! I'm kidding.) Unless Sisko was going to spend his whole time on the station standing before the Orb of Contemplation, it's unclear how it would have been any different if Sisko had been on the station; and further, it requires a very unlikely coincidence to get to Dax's death.

    The set-up for her being there is that she and Worf want to have a baby. And this, I'll admit, does seem a logical follow-up to the subplot in "Time's Orphan," so I won't complain too much. However, I will complain a bit: this story (as I think Tim Lynch mentioned back in the day) smacks of creating new reasons for us to feel sad for Jadzia death just in the episode itself, as if it were not enough that we have known the character for six years. In particular, it bothers me that Jadzia has that "our baby...would have beautiful" tearful farewell to Worf as she lies dying, which (again) only continues a story started in this very episode. It'd still be sad that she died without the knowledge of the Baby That Will Never Be. It also sucks because it reduces Jadzia in this episode almost entirely to scenes of her talking about having a baby, working toward having a baby, praying about having a baby, etc.; it is hardly much of a goodbye to the character when she spends the whole episode on what is essentially a new topic that has barely ever been discussed before. And I'm wary about defining female characters entirely by motherhood anyway. This is in addition to the fact that it's maybe not a great idea to have a baby during wartime is not mentioned, though this I could see as maybe a Klingon culture thing -- presumably Klingons are constantly at war and so they wouldn't put their lives on hold during wartime. And yet, Worf is *so cautious* that I would still like to hear his attitude about this, and oddly the episode basically removes Worf's perspective on the baby. As I said, because of "Time's Orphan" I can see Worf and Dax going there, but I am a little unconvinced.

    Anyway, Jadzia's death leaves me cold, then; I think the baby fever is a little unconvincing but mostly is grating as naked writerly manipulation, and the death scene itself seems like a coincidence with little dramatic impact. I think they were maybe going for something like Tasha's death -- where the *point* is that it's pointless and that sometimes pointless deaths happen -- and that is sort of okay, except Sisko is so quick to assign so much meaning to her death as being symbolic of his own failure. I guess we don't have to take Ben seriously here -- he just feels bad for disobeying the Prophets and so is blaming himself for anything, and anyway shifts very quickly from "I'm sad that you're dead" to "but boy, those orbs are black." (Worf's warrior-scream worked for me.)

    Did Sisko really say "...and for the first time in my life I've failed in my duty as a Starfleet officer"? I admit my girlfriend and I laughed out loud at that. Sorry -- I know I'm harsh on Benjamin a lot of the time, and I know that I'm an outlier, but really? First time? I'm not even clear on how he *did* fail in his duty as a Starfleet officer in this episode, unless he means from passing out on the bridge, which, you know, I hardly think that counts. Sisko's running back to Earth at this stage does make sense to me -- it is not so much this individual event as the buildup of the whole season weighing him down. However, you know, that would make more sense if he hadn't said that he's never failed as a Starfleet officer! Hey buddy, Jadzia is dead; you said in "In the Pale Moonlight" that you couldn't talk to her, but now if you are going to monologue over her body, you actually could say outright "and also I betrayed fundamental values and every time I see a Romulan I think that they are only here because I tricked them, and that every death might be on my hands" if you felt bad about that, and no one would hear! (Maybe he's afraid of bugs.) To justify his departure, it would make more sense to me to make it explicit that he can't take more of this, that the collective impact of "Waltz," "In the Pale Moonlight" and "The Reckoning" (all of which are necessary set-up for this episode!) in combination with "Tears" is what breaks him rather than Dax's death and the orbs going dark by itself.

    Rounding things up a bit: the battle scenes were fine re: the Chin'toka system. Jake's presence on the Defiant was pointless, as it turns out. The Odo/Kira spat seems to be only worthwhile as a bit of misdirection -- since there were Relationship Stories for both Odo/Kira and Worf/Dax, it would have been possible for Odo or Kira to die instead -- but was pretty tame in an already overstuffed episode. I get what they were doing with the Martok/Romulans conflict but it was pretty lifeless, despite Hertzler's always entertaining presence. I wish that Garak got to do or say something interesting this episode -- his one line about liberating Cardassia seems only to be the barest explanation of why he's there at all, and is pretty incomplete (where does Garak draw the line in a fight with Cardassians, anyway?) -- in the Occupation arc Garak's presence didn't bother me because he obviously had nowhere to go after "Call to Arms," but he could have stayed on the station here, and it's hard to imagine that Sisko trusts him at this point to be on the ship. But mostly it just feels like a bit of a waste to have Garak in an episode and do so little. Did we have to hear the whole Vic song? And I love this exchange and wished the logic was followed through more carefully in the opposite direction:

    WEYOUN: Pah wraiths and Prophets. All this talk of gods strikes me as nothing more than superstitious nonsense.
    DAMAR: You believe that the Founders are gods, don't you?
    WEYOUN: That's different.
    DAMAR: In what way?
    WEYOUN: The Founders are gods.


    Anyway, against the episode are the bogus conflict created by Ross, the further flattening of Dukat, the disappointing death of Jadzia, and the sense of attempting too much at once. In its favour, there are some good battle scenes, some amusing lines, and ambition, as well as an *attempt* (if not success) to push the issue of Sisko's genuine conflict of interest. Overall, not terrible, but a disappointment. I think 2 stars.

    Question: what is up with the shields on those Cardassian drones? An entire fleet of Romulan, Federation and Klingon capital ships can't punch through them? Even the Defiant's quantum torpedoes, which we saw in First Contact could destroy a borg sphere and punch holes in a cube are useless?

    It's hard to buy that a Pagh Wraith would acquiesce to spending who knows how long being trapped inside of a clay figurine.


    Presumably the PW was trapped in the artifact by devout ancient Bajorans (or maybe the Prophets themselves?). I do wish Dukat had said a little more about the artifact (e.g. "The entity trapped in this artifact was imprisoned by...").

    A couple of Next Generation style uniforms make a random appearance during the Klingon-Federation-Romulan briefing long after the changeover to the black and gray First Contact style uniforms. Any explanation given for that?

    "A couple of Next Generation style uniforms make a random appearance during the Klingon-Federation-Romulan briefing long after the changeover to the black and gray First Contact style uniforms. Any explanation given for that?"

    Their ship had just returned from an extended mission?

    The best part of the episode is Bashir and Quark languishing over the fact Jadzia and Worf's marriage will actually last.

    To tell you the truth I could relate to that the "loser" watching the hot girl get away and hoping something would screw up the unpleasant set up.

    I guess they were just unlucky should have been Worf in the temple.

    Is this how the military works? One person is appointed to plan an attack? Wouldn't all knowledgeable people be asked to work together to make a plan that needs to be approved by the brass? Perhaps with different proposals being considered?

    Similarly, just because Sisko's ship's engineer discovered the flaw in the defense system, why would his ship be the one to destroy the moon? Is it the most manueverable? As the guy with all the strategy, shouldn't he maybe be hanging back a bit?

    I continued to be grossed out by Julian's pining over Jadzia (pre-death). When the holosuite guy said "You lost her a long time ago," that's wrong. He never had her because she never had any interest in him. His feelings towards her now seem a bit stalkerish and creepily entitled. Yuck.

    In addition to previous comments about the prophets having literally saved the federation less than a year ago, they also know the future. The admiral is an idiot for ignoring their warning.

    When Sisko was scrubbing the potatoes he was scrubbing the dirt onto the potatoes below him. Was that supposed to be a symptom of his depression, or just stupid?

    This is the second episode where Julian has worn a tomato costume with no explanation.

    All the sap leading up to Jadzia's death was was just irritating. As you point out, Bashir and Quark pining was horribly out of place, but worse was the direction (not sure if it was the acting or the writing) but the emotions were overdone just up to the verge of a cartoonish level.

    The prophets don't want Sisko to leave, but Dukat beamed to the temple and zapped the Orb... What exactly could Sisko have done had he been there? Is there implication he could have stopped it? Or was this just a pivotal moment in Bajoran history that he needed to be physically present for because of its importance?

    Was Dax stuck on the station for plot convenience? Or was this part of the ban on her and Worf ever having missions together? Why isn't Bashir on the Defiant when it goes into war? Stupid contrivances that just take me out of the episode.

    I found Admiral Ross's annoyance at the Emissary stuff very odd. Gods or not, the wormhole aliens are real aliens (gods or not) and they have insight into time. They (and Sisko's connection) were key to saving the Alpha Quadrant when they zapped the dominion fleet at Sisko's urging, and the implication is that they have been blocking Dominion reinforcements from coming through. You'd think Admiral Ross would give a warning from them far more credibility than giving an "enough of this crap - pick them or us" ultimatum.

    I do believe this episode has a lot of gravitas, but I think the tone and the plot is just a bit off.

    As for the stuff that you are forced to believe because it's necessary for the plot, those weapon platforms tear through warbirds and galaxy glass ships very quickly upon their activation; yet the Defiant gets all the way to the Endor (or whatever the power moon is called) - which should be the most heavily guarded part of the defensive system, you'd think) and takes hit after hit without major issues. The final solution is cute, but it seems like the kind of thing that either shouldn't work, or shouldn't be something O'Brien just "figures out". If that kind of things works on automated weapons, it should be textbook 101 when fighting automated weapons.

    Finally, on the minorist of nitpicks, the fact that the weapon platforms wilt and close up AFTER their power source has been destroyed seems counterintuitive.


    "Or was this part of the ban on her and Worf ever having missions together? "

    I choose to believe this is the reason. It actually makes a ton of sense and gives that other previous episode more weight.

    Still yeah the whole "we want to have a baby!" and the Bashir / Quark stuff.. all that was just really out of place.

    If someone ever invents a time machine for real they need to go back and convince Terry Farrell to stay on for a 7th season.

    @Del_Duio and TH

    That's not right, the order specifically said they were not allowed to go on missions together *on their own*. Jadzia and Worf were on plenty of missions together on the Defiant following "Change of Heart".

    Actually, Dax is supposed to be the highest ranking Starfleet Officer after Sisko (and later Worf), so the question might be why Dax wasn't put in charge of the station more often before this episode.

    @William B I thought I was the only one who remembers CM's review of the seventh season. Watched it waaay back before I got into the show.


    Farrel wanted to stay, just in more limited capacity.

    The more I've seen it, the more I can't stand this episode. If Terry Farrell knew she would leave the show, make her death less circumstantial and abrupt. How could Dukat show up out of nowhere, magically beam onto the station and destroy the the orb? They seem to drag Dukat into these episodes because they have to. If the prophets said Sisko would be in danger by leaving the station, make him brush with death at least, running away to make does not symbolize danger. Also, I hate the prophets and their corporeal powers showing up when it does, it is okay for a one-time Trek episode but not on multiple occasions, let alone showing up as being a crucial part of the story.

    This episode just felt way too rushed.

    I have 2 thoughts about this episode.

    1) I'm so glad Jadzia (sp?) is dead. She was boring. She should be been the most interesting character but her centric episodes were soooooo boring. She even had the first homosexual kiss in the entire Trek series should've been exciting (shouldn't it?) but it was just blahhhhh.

    2) WHERE THE HELL IS THE ENTERPRISE??? It has bothered me that this war has been going on and no Riker, no Picard, nothing. I know, theyre not a war ship. But id like to know what they're up to, you know??

    Overall, though, the episode was great, but rushed. I agree with Jammer's rating. Also, as soon as Jadzia died I begged, openly, as if to the prophets, that Ward did the warrior call thing. My heart sank as he did. It was great.

    "WHERE THE HELL IS THE ENTERPRISE??? It has bothered me that this war has been going on and no Riker, no Picard, nothing. I know, theyre not a war ship. But id like to know what they're up to, you know?? "

    They're helping some selfish immortals defend their planet against plastic surgery thugs.

    I assume "plastic surgery thugs" are the Borg? I'm guessing the TNG movies will give me more information on that. In trying to discover proper watching order I was told to finish DS9 before watching the rest of the TBH movies. So hopefully then I'll get my answer

    3 stars

    Sort of a mixed bag. I was finly glad to get back to the Dominion a War arc more directly But it was Nowhere as satisfying as "Call to Arms". This season finale seemed to struggle. I appreciated that the Bajoran holiday first mentioned in third season Fascination episode was actually revisited here. Usually such things are used only once and never mentioned again. So that was welcome

    The Odo/Kira fight was silly and really out of place in this episode.

    I think it was common knowledge originally back in 1998 that Terry Farrell was leaving months before this episode came on. Back then I wasn't on the internet and wasn't privy to spoilers--thankfully!!--but even I knew she was leaving. I have to say Jadzia wasn't a very interesting character so her death didn't really impact me the way tasha's did way back in 1988. Now Yar's death was shocking and devastating I still remember where I was and what was going on at that moment in time. Jadzia's was just kind of 'there' although over the years since then I have found it more affecting

    As usual the battle sequences continue to impress. I liked the idea of automated weapon platform as well as the idea to imprint a Federation signature on the power generator so the weapons would target it instead. And the plot developments of the Alliance claiming the Chintoka system, the wormhole disappearing were intriguing

    You'd think the Prophets though would be less cryptic and more direct in communicating with Sisko although I supppse being aliens maybe the cryptic confusing comments are the best they can do. I mean linear time is foreign to them so maybe verbal communication is not easy for them to grasp and can only muster up such vague warnings.

    I will say though the episode did successfully have a very unsettling and unnerving vibe permeating throughout it which was a definite plus in my opinion. The closing scene was good. Very melancholy and the jazz music accompanying it added to the mood I thought effectively

    How did Gul Dukat manage to get close enough to transport undetected to DS9? If it was so easy, they would have taken the station in no time.

    The eternal "simplest solution" for the Federation: "oh, we're going to imprint a Federation signature for the platforms to waste it". So, Cardassian engineers are so dumb they can create a badass weapon but without countermeasures? No special defenses for the main power generator? Just put it on a rock and let the Irish to figure out a ridiculous solution to a big problem...... DS9 is really the first lame spin off... And that without mentioning Kira taking command of a Federation ship, so Worf was just painted there, maybe it was a Worf's hologram? Maybe the writers got very ill paid at the time the show was going on...

    Regarding the automated weapons platforms, I prefer to think that they were easy to fool because they were experimental and the Cardassians had to cut corners in getting them up and running in time to greet the fleet. I guess the targetting software was still in beta testing. I'm being glib but it kind of makes sense given the circumstances.

    But this whole thing about their invincibility is bugging me still because it's just impossible to understand how the Cardassians can build weapons that can tank a fleet of Romulan, Federation and Klingon capital ships.

    It's just so nonsensical and contrived. Why don't the Cardassians deploy these weapons everywhere? Are they really expensive? So Cardassia can build 100 of these things but not starships? (we are told that their ships are spread thin)

    It would have helped if we saw the fleet taking down a few of the platforms with a concentrated attack but still suffering heavy losses. That would have been more believable.

    And flashing forward to Season 7 - What you Leave Behind (spoiler)***

    Just how was the Federation fleet going to destroy the dozens of these things they had in orbit around Cardassia? If quantum torpedos don't even scratch the paint, just what did the Feds have that would? I very much doubt the deflector dish trick was going to work a second time unless the Cardassians were idiots.

    And this episode just exemplifies the wonderful chemistry you see between supporting characters on DS9. The exchange between Damar and Weyoun about gods was not only hilarious, but just a perfect reflection of the characters. Absolute gold.

    And in answer to some queries about how Dukat got aboard DS9, he was clearly using a Dominion transporter, which have been established to have ridiculous range.

    One of the weakest season finales in whole Star Trek. What a mess of an episode. Gul Dakat just waltzing back in with a statue, becoming all powerful and killing Jadzia. There is no buildup. A disconnected Worf with the obligatory Klingon deathcry. I didn't feel it. The afwul scene with night club singer Vic, totally unnecessary and came out of nowhere. This war that seems to turn on and off whenever the writers need it. It was all coming out of nowhere, very lethargic and it didn't work at all. Disappointing. 1.5 stars.

    Tons going on in this episode and a great way to end Season 6 -- definitely leaves much to think about as we finally get back to the Dominion war. Really like Sisko's story here and what he's going through. Less to like, for me, is Dukat's transformation although the acting is spot on. Also not much of a fan of the metaphysical aspects of this episode with Pah-wraiths and Prophets having an influence over the plot -- but DS9 straddles sci-fi and fantasy and tells a good tale ultimately.

    It's also great for the series that they can actually kill off a main cast member -- unfortunate that it just seems like she was in the wrong place at the wrong time. But Dukat having the power of the Pah-wraith is intriguing as it creates yet another burden for Sisko -- found it a bit cheesy with the red eyes (not good to remind me of "The Reckoning").

    There are some little things to love about this episode: Martok and the Romulan senator portraying their races so well - supposed allies but trading verbal barbs; can't get enough of the Weyoun and Damar dialog.

    As a season finale, like "Call to Arms" it has to cover a ton of bases - some of which aren't that great. So Jake, who has nothing to do, gets to go on the Defiant. This is ridiculous. Odo and Kira get over some BS misunderstanding and kiss -- their interaction could have been omitted. Quark / Bashir as the losers missing out on Dax -- didn't need that, nor the scene with Vic singing. The transition away from the Klingons/Romulans arguing to Vic's program was jarring. And of course there has to be some soft moments between Jadzia/Worf (talk of a baby etc.) so as to make her death have more impact. I've never been a huge fan of Farrell's acting or the Jadzia Dax character so her death isn't that big of a deal for me but at least it has it's impact on Sisko most importantly.

    DS9 does a great job of showing how difficult it must be to be Sisko -- he deserves a nice long break. He thinks he has failed as Emissary and as a Star Fleet captain - I assume the Admiral was OK with him taking off. But him taking off is a good way to end the season.

    Good enough for 3.5 stars for "Tears of the Prophets" -- the important pieces of the larger arc are working well despite some minor flaws. Have to wonder how the Prophets will fight back -- this is a parallel war going on with the Pah-wraiths, so it's consistent DS9 that this is brought back into the picture, although it appears arbitrary. Dukat is a solo madman -- I like him better before his daughter was killed. Sisko is the main character and it's well portrayed just how much shit he has to deal with -- true reason for despair.

    Starfleet lets the guy they just tasked with planning the invasion of Cardassia take an indefinite leave?

    The guy standing in the background of the meeting in the ward room had an ancient TNG era uniform, and it really stood out.

    Also some nice continuity when it was Kira that took command of the Defiant...when Sisko said that Worf wouldn't get command after the events of "Change Of Heart", he wasn't kidding. Almost expected to see Worf back in yellow.

    Watching and commenting

    --A Bajoran holiday. Kira is pissed at Odo for arresting a Vedek who was on the promenade, raising funds for charity without the proper license. Ben gets an award. But mostly: Big Ben is assigned to plan the invasion of Cardassia.

    --Dukat on Cardassia looking for revenge against Sisko. Says he's a changed man. "I exist in a state of complete clarity. A clarity I intend to share with the Universe." Weyoun is not impressed. "You're right, Dukat, you have changed. You've gone from being a self important egotist to a self deluded madman. I'd hardly call that improvement." Weyoun is very observant.

    --The Klingons and Romulans are amusing as they confront each other.

    --Silliness about Quark and Bashir pining for Dax. James Darren again. A charmer. "Here's to the Losers, Bless them all." Quite a song to hear as we set off to invade Cardassia.

    --Ben, Prophets, blah blah blah, don't go to Cardassia. But he chooses to go to Cardassia. YAY!

    --Oh, ummmm. Possessed Dukat? Oh, oh, oh. Oh. Really? The wraiths again? Is this war going to be a Titans showdown? Hmm. Ugh.

    --Oh, dear God. I'd been spoiled but didn't expect this horrendous death in the shrine. Wow. Very sad.

    --I guess the pah-wraith made it into the wormhole and caused a power outage, so to speak.

    --Sisko talking some time off to think things through.

    --Well, pretty underwhelming as a Season finale, but good solid episode.

    I don't understand why Worf wasn't taking care of the symbiont to ensure it survives. Even according to Trill rules, Worf should have felt responsible to take of it until it was safely inside a new host. This way it would have never been uncomfortable between him and Ezri. He would have continued with Dax just as with Jadzia. Instead it came as a shock to him when Ezri arrived at the station. "Worf we need to talk" in "Shadows and Symbols" was totally inappropriate. That's way too casual of a way to treat a grieving widower .

    Jadzia had to stay on DS9 because Sisko made it clear in “Change of Heart” that Worf and Jadzia would never again be assigned to the same mission. This may also explain why Kira took command of the Defiant instead of Worf, who had been stripped of command duties. He would later, though, command the Defiant again in Season 7.

    Okay, just making sure I follow:

    Sisko has embraced his identity as the Emissary.

    He has come to accept the revelations of the Prophets.

    He has accepted the revelation of the Prophets that he is "of Bajor."

    The Prophets told him not to leave Bajor, but he yielded to Starfleet pressure to do so.

    He believes his subordinate and friend is dead and the wormhole has been closed because he left Bajor.

    He (understandably) needs to take some time to reflect and get his head together.

    He decides to do this by going to …

    … his father's restaurant on Earth to scrub potatoes?

    Not, for example, on retreat at monastery on Bajor?

    Not to some little cottage on a quiet hillside, on BAJOR?

    I would dispute the first point. It’s more that is recognized or acknowledged that destiny. He is, especially at this moment, not happy about it. Returning to Earth, he is actively trying to avoid it.

    I have problems with this episode, but Sisko dejectedly heading to Earth isn't one of them. While it's not exactly the bravest move, I think the idea here is that Sisko simply cannot face the Bajorans right now, in the absence of the Prophets and their "guidance" (instructions), and the Bajorans' apparent expectations that he'll be able to tell them what to do, particularly since he feels responsible for their absence, compounded with the loss of his best friend to his arch-enemy (which he also feels responsible for). Based on how dependent the Bajorans are on the Prophets for their religious meaning, it's not clear what a Bajoran monastery would look like now that the orbs have all gone dark etc., and it wouldn't exactly be a soothing place for a Sisko who wants an escape.

    Thoroughly amused by Jammer's choice of which line to quote at the top.

    This finale really did not hit me as hard as some others have. Functionally, I'd put it about on par with 'Broken Link', where the biggest draw is a major paradigm shift for a major character (solid Odo back then, and Sisko's departure here). But then Season 5 proceeded to make resoundingly underwhelming use of Solid Odo. As for Season 7 and Sisko? I'll be vague for spoilers' sake, but having watched up to the resolution of his predicament here, I'd say it feels more fulfilling. That gives 'Tears of the Prophets' the edge, at least in retrospect.

    Only on the Sisko angle, though. There's a lot else in here that doesn't work, or that I just flat-out don't like.

    I'll start with the most glaring flaw, given that we've had her as a main character for six whole seasons: this is *not* a good exit for Jadzia, dammit! Mostly just a frustrating one. I knew it was coming, saw through all the obvious telegraphing, and then the actual event wasn't able to muster much more than a "well, I guess that's how that happens". Same problem as Jammer, of having the event deflated by foreknowledge? Maybe. But for a different perspective, my partner has consistently held Jadzia as a favourite (though wishing they'd make better use of her) and had no idea her death was coming... and he still barely reacted. I think the conclusion we have to draw here is that that was just a bad way to kill her off.

    Also, she's dead enough in the Bajoran chapel and gets left there for however long, and yet the magic of Julian Bashir can bring the host back to life/consciousness only long enough to say a few soulless deathbed lines? Felt *extremely* contrived. But I do think Worf's warrior cry worked, at least. The no explanation tacked on" helps a lot, making sure the scene doesn't get bogged down; faithful Trek-watchers know what's going on, and those less familiar can easily infer at least the grief if not the ritual aspect. DS9 has enough faith in its audience to not go expositing all through its vital scenes.

    And I am not into the sudden "both Bashir and Quark were in love with her" thing they've been going for these past... few episodes. Good job guys, you've basically gone and brought this outta the blue last-minute to try and make us feel Sad about her death haven't ya. Well, it just ain't working on me.

    Feels like an unwanted resurgence for Bashir. I appreciated how he settled down into a comfortable platonic dynamic with her as part of his growing maturity (the guy finally learned to keep it in his pants, I'm so proud). I can buy that Character Developed Bashir might fall into a more mature form of love with her, rather than just pestering her for sex every two minutes. He's not pushy with her, at least. Doesn't treat her any differently. Doesn't let it get in the way of anything. And yet these all feel like concessions I'm making, to say "I guess this COULD work, but it doesn't".

    On Quark's side of it, what I have to say is "fine, I guess it makes sense" and "you know, I really thought he was making it up in that one ep just to distract Bashir and beat him at Tongo". With a side of "I suppose this could be part of him growing past his misogyny, but I really think that would be stronger without the sudden pining after her -- being able to have a strong relationship with an attractive woman and have it be *platonic*". Unrequited love angst is something I have low tolerance for anyway (see previous gripes about Odo with Kira). Our obligatory Vic appearance does salvage that a little. And yet overall this just feels like something that's bogging down both the characters and the story... something that hasn't really had enough buildup to feel dramatically effective, and instead just feels tacked on to add cheap dramatic weight to the inevitable death. Both Quark and Bashir have had enough going on with Dax in the past for this to feel like it could make sense (I'd be even harsher if it came completely out of nowhere -- say, O'Brien suddenly pining for Dax despite little-to-no distinct relationship as characters beforehand). I'm just not feeling it overall.

    So, in summary: what purposes does Jadzia's death serve?

    - Pure shock value
    --- (Very cheap reason to kill a main character, and deflated by the news having seemingly got out far ahead of time. She may as well be a redshirt, the way her initial death scene plays out.)
    - Making the audience Sad
    --- (I'm mostly just frustrated by this, really.)
    - Making Bashir and Quark even Sadder than they already are
    --- (Doesn't really work, as thoroughly outlined above.)
    - Making Worf super duper Sad
    --- (Ever heard of the term "fridging"?)
    - Adding a bonus reason for Sisko's noping out to New Orleans
    --- (Redundant. He already has reason enough.)
    - Establishing Dukat's pah-wraith as ruthless, cruel and powerful
    --- (Do we need to establish this? It basically goes without saying.)
    - Removing the Dax symbiont from Jadzia, opening up the opportunity to tell different stories with a different host
    --- (... but this probably isn't the right episode for commenting about that.)
    - Getting Terry Farrell off the show, and far away from *a certain exec*
    --- (From what I hear, she didn't even want to leave outright -- her hand was forced, again by *a certain exec*.)

    All in all... I'm just not satisfied.

    I rewatched 'The Sound of her Voice' with my partner directly before this -- I'd told him about the impact it'd had on me. It got the waterworks going from me again, and got a strong reaction from him too. I appreciate the emotional groundwork it lays for dealing with Jadzia's death, but you know what the most tragic thing is? The death of Lisa Cusak, a one-off character, hit me far harder than the death of Jadzia Dax.

    So that's that. What else do we have going on here?

    Dukat's shift to essentially being "the Emissary of the Pah-Wraiths"* feels... uh... where did this even come from? Has he even cared about the whole religious side of things before now? William B's making sense in saying it's basically to oppose himself with Sisko. And yet something about Dukat even being *directly* opposed with Sisko in the first place rubs me the wrong way. Seems to be a Season 6 invention, with groundwork laid by the opening arc and with 'Waltz' serving to finalise it. Feels like the writers going "okay, Main Protagonist vs Main Antagonist, let's do this" --making the overarching story more simplistic in the process. No, the character with which Dukat is far more diametrically opposed is Major Kira, stretching all the way back to the Occupation/the Resistance. And while the interplay between those two doesn't seem to have been abandoned ('Wrongs Darker...' was post-'Waltz', after all), it seems to have been nudged out of the way for the sake of this Grand Cosmic Rivalry with Dukat and Sisko. Shame.

    * That sure seems to be the role he's fallen into narratively, but going by the definition of "first person to make contact with them"... that'd be Keiko, of all people. Surprise Final Season Major Villain??? can't wait to see her and Miles going all Dragonball Z on us with blue/red beams on the Promenade

    Weyoun's one-line takedown of Dukat is absolutely spot-on, by the way. I love Weyoun. I also had a laugh at Dukat's later scene, reporting back to Damar and Weyoun:


    "What the hell, this is not a victory, you sealed the wormhole and now our reinforcements are even more trapped than they already were??"

    "V I C T O R Y"

    So for now, Dukat's basically back to the same sort of role as his "lone wolf Klingonslayer" turn back in S4. Seen as an embarrassment back on Cardassia, but too self-absorbed with his own little crusade to care. The main difference: his crusade this time round is a lot less "little" than before.

    Other than that, there's the changing nature of the Dominion War, from defensive to offensive. It's another one of those paradigm shifts, but man, not much of the actual battle here really made an impact on me. It's mostly just a reason for Sisko to be off the station.

    (Speaking of which, an observation: It's not often that Garak's allowed to be a background character. Unlike Nog, who appears roughly as frequently but often pads out Starfleet or Ferengi ensembles, Garak's rarely in episodes unless those episodes are *about* him in some way. I always get excited whenever I see Andrew J. Robinson's name superimposed on the first act, but here, he has a perfunctory line about Cardassia and then functions as any old member of the Defiant's crew. He gets five lines in the entire episode -- even Vic (who seems almost designed to make short, perfunctory appearances) gets twice as many as that. Not inherently a bad thing, but perhaps symptomatic of how many characters and storylines DS9's having to juggle these days.)

    There's the abrupt closure of the wormhole, cutting Bajor off from their Prophets. Which does make for a good "oh shit!" moment, even if the mechanism for its execution (Dukat) is flawed. Yet another paradigm shift for the next season to deal with. Seems like a lot of the best (or least worst) things happening here are just breadcrumbs leading into next year...

    ... including Sisko's situation, which is undoubtedly the best thing on offer here. Granted, its setup rankled a little. People often seem far too quick to dismiss "the wisdom of the Prophets". These are beings that can see through time, guys -- sure, they can be vague, but when they give a clear instruction like this, maybe you should listen??? But Admiral Ross follows in the grand tradition of Starfleet admirals being obstinate, short-sighted and generally cumbersome, so he *insists.* And Sisko's forced into the Starfleet choice for the sake of not losing his career.

    The ramifications are devastating. Written effectively, performed effectively. Sisko's scene with Jadzia's coffin is perhaps the only good thing here relating to her death. (I don't think there was much Sisko could've done personally to stop Dukat dropping by and zapping her, unless his presence on the station was an anti-wraith ward in itself. But survivor's guilt doesn't care about that.) And I'd say it makes sense for Sisko to return to Earth: both DS9 and Bajor will be constant reminders of his failure. The final scene of Sisko scrubbing clams is a hell of a poignant note to end on.

    It's a hell of a dramatic fall from grace for Sisko to take. Hell of a compelling depiction here, on top of what it sets up for the final season to follow. I only wish the episode it's couched in could be anywhere near as good.

    “From what I hear, she didn't even want to leave outright -- her hand was forced, again by *a certain exec*.”

    I thought Farrell wanted to do Becker and still appear in the seventh season as a guest star but they couldn’t agree on her compensation so it didn’t happen. Is there something else?

    I agree with you mostly that Dax’s death wasn’t handled well. That they have to make her pregnant in the episode to *up her importance* is kind of an insult to the character. I do like the impact it has on Sisko, however, and I think they develop that angle fairly good.

    According to Farrell, the Becker casting only happened after she was turfed from DS9.

    If that's so, then who is the exec?

    To Fenn's post:

    I have a suspicion that they didn't want to give Jadzia a glorious send-off, possibly because relations there were not good. They did give Sisko his needed eulogy for her, but I'm not that surprised that they made it fairly suddent and done with. Also I think it works theme-wise to have it be Dukat and the pagh wraiths taking away the last remnant of Benjamin's old life (besides Jake, I guess) and making him doubt his place. Not sure how much they had this in mind, but I do consider (now, in hindsight) that Dax was probably the key person in making Ben originally feel like he could stay on DS9. It was also her helping him find the prophets, scientifically speaking. Yeah, the death isn't great, but the perp is fitting.

    Regarding Dukat as anti-emissary, I may be one of the few people here who thinks it is the only logical conclusion to his arc. He always was an opportunistic megalomaniac, and everything else was a puppet show being put on for himself and for others. The beauty is that Alaimo can sell it so well that you almost want to believe it at times (like on the Bird of Prey), but you shouldn't. I do think he is Sisko's equal and opposite as well, and that this was set up during the series:

    -The two commanders of Terok Nor/DS9.
    -Both in certain ways obsessed with Bajor and for its future (Sisko, for their care, Dukat, for their obedience and respect).
    -Both willing to believe they have a higher calling; Sisko reluctantly but he is willing to believe it; and Dukat because he *wants* to believe it.
    -Both are willing to bend official rules to do what they think is right; in Ben's case it's to do moral right, and in Dukat's to do what will advantage him.
    -Both have a 'special relationship' with Kira (and by proxy, the Bajorans).

    I think while they could have continued the charade of Dukat being redeemable, it is completely reasonable for him to at some point cut out the crap and drop the mask.

    Sorry for the vagueness re: the exec in question -- I thought this was fairly well-known. It was Rick Berman; I've heard the same story in various places, but just searched and found this link has direct quotes from 'The Fifty Year Mission' (Terry Farrell directly telling her side of the story):

    I also read on Memory Alpha that her reduced presence in 'The Sound of her Voice' was so that she could attend auditions for other shows -- which corroborates her story of not having already got the job of Becker at that point.

    As for Dukat and Sisko, @Peter G: good list there, and yeah, they do parallel each other in a lot of ways (that Kira and Dukat don't really match too well). I find it strange though that, as far as direct interaction has gone, there's been far more between Kira and Dukat up to this point; Sisko and Dukat's particular rivalry definitely seems to be an invention of 'Waltz' -- six years in. Definitely fertile ground to work with there, and better to start late than never, but I can't recall much Sisko-Dukat interaction before that point (apart from, say, official comms). Regardless: interested to see what they do with it.

    Berman. Who else? You can read about it in The 50 Year Mission, though be prepared for a lot of he said/said (Behr basically verifies Farrell's version, though).

    Huh, that's the kind of thing I never heard about because I don't like watching interviews. But ugh, terrible. And Berman being like that would certainly explain why Roddenberry loved him so much to take over the show. I guess they were like minds in that regard...

    @ Fenn,

    "Definitely fertile ground to work with there, and better to start late than never, but I can't recall much Sisko-Dukat interaction before that point (apart from, say, official comms)."

    Well, I think part of the problem was that Sisko refused for there to be any interaction. Dukat clearly wanted to be his buddy or something and Sisko shot him down way back in S2. There wasn't much room for Dukat to try to make time with Sisko, especially when Kira was so much more personally interesting to him. That said, they didn't need to have an interpersonal rivalry in order to be rivals; the fact of pursuing equal and opposite goals is enough, I think. That it got personal later is, I think, because of some weird respect Ben got for beating Dukat off of Terok Nor.

    I tend to not take sides on the production side of things because, at the end of the day, it's mostly a dispute about money and we aren't really in a position to say who is right or wrong there. I'm definitely not a fan of Berman, but I can imagine Farrell asking for a huge pay increase during her contract negotiation too.

    As for the Sisko/Dukat thing, I can see where Fenn is coming from, especially since they've given a lot of nuance to Dukat over these six seasons. He's not always about Sisko, and he's not even always a bad guy. There is a sort of narrative here where loss upon loss and disgrace after disgrace finally gets to Dukat and he basically goes mad, blaming Sisko because he's not even thinking clearly. And sure, since Sisko's closely orbits Dukat's failures he's as good a target as any.

    And so, we come to the end of the penultimate season.

    The B-plot (C-plot?) about the argument between Kira and Odo is a bit forced - why would Kira be angry about Odo behaving like Odo? And the conversation where they make up is odd - Kira’s response of “I don’t know” to Odo’s question about if she loves him is pretty much ignored. But then, this episode really isn’t about the B-plots: it’s all about setting things up for the next season.

    And, of course, the death of a major character. Which is arguably telegraphed in just as clumsy a way as in the old British war movies, where a pilot or soldier would stare at a photo of their wife and talk about their plans for when they get home. In much the same way, Dax and Worf discuss their marriage, drop hints about baby-making and share a passionate kiss as part of Worf’s farewell.

    Might as well have stuck her in a red shirt, painted a target on her back, stuck a vial of White in her hand and then teleported her to a planet crawling with Jem Hadar suffering from withdrawal symptoms.

    … scuse me, just got to skip through yet another interminable bit of lounge singing from Vic. Where was I?

    Ah, now we get Dukat in full scenery-chewing mode, as he lights candles and chants before dramatically… snapping a cheap-looking statue in half. Because when breaking a demon - sorry, Pah Wraith - out of a bit of clay, you have to have chanting and candles. Just don't ask how the Pah Wraith got stuck in there in the first place.

    I must admit, I half expected Buffy the Vampire Slayer to appear at this point. It’s the final nail in the coffin (after The Reckoning) for me: the Prophet arc is reduced to little more than a set of supernatural cliches and tropes; demons, demon worshippers, dusty tomes of Forbidden Knowledge(tm) and incantations. It’s not even Doctor Who style science-fantasy!

    Though it does lead to an entertaining scene where Weyoun takes affront at Damar doubting his Gods. And it does mean Sisko gets to do his little homage to Obi Wan Kenobi...

    Any which way, possessed-Dukat gets to teleport onto the station without triggering any alerts or sensors, and then deactivates the wormhole - a move which even this episode concedes is of little or no strategic or tactical benefit. After all, for all that it’d affect the morale on Bajor, they’re not actively involved in this war, and whatever impact it has on Sisko, he’s just a single captain. But hey, it helps to build up towards the cliffhanger ending.

    Oh, and he takes a pot-shot at Dax along the way, who manages to survive just long enough to allow the symbiote to be removed, and to have a dramatic farewell with Sisko and Worf. In much the same way as those old WW movies!

    There’s also the bit where the Cardassians and Dominion defences are chewed up by the Federation/Klingon/Romulan alliance, after Garak spots a weakness in their centrally-powered weapons systems. A weakness no other ship spotted, despite the fact that millions of gigavolts of energy has to be constantly streaming between all the satellites and *somehow* getting through their shields.

    And then, through the power of technobabble, the satellites are convinced to destroy their own power supply. Might as well have painted the satellites with the tricolor and called it the Maginot line...

    Cut to the end, where Sisko decides that he’s made so much of a mess that he needs to dump all of his responsibilities and to go back to Earth to scrub clams at his father’s economically-questionable restaurant. Oh no, he’s even taken his baseball with him!

    It’s not a bad episode, and it does set things up nicely for the final season. I just wish they’d taken a more sophisticated approach to the Prophets arc...

    Jadzia‘s death bed thing is MST3K territory. Bashir said he saved the symbiont and couldn’t do anything for Dax, but she’s still conscious and coherent enough to speak. Wtf??

    If a cloaked Dominion ship can saddle right up to the station without being detected, transport someone on board without having the transport detected, and then beam out and leave without being detected.... Then why don’t they just send a fleet of cloaked Dominion ships, beam over an army of cloaked Jem’Hadar, and have them kill everyone on the station and re-take it? That humongous plot while aside, and the fact that I was rather ambivalent about Jadzia’s death, I rather liked this episode, and 3.5 stars is about right. Not perfect, but it does whet your appetite for the final season masterfully.

    Presumably Dukat came and went using one of the Dominion long-distance transporters that we learn about in "Covenant." As for why the Dominion couldn't use the same method to send a few kamikaze Jem'hadar to DS9... dunno.

    I do agree that a lot of DS9 seemed rushed, unadulterated, and at times grossly under-worked-on.

    But try to remember, guys+gals... This is a television series made in the late 90s. ClearChannel/et al were buying up affiliates left and right, the entertainment game was very cutthroat. And writing staff were under tremendous pressure, since shooting schedules for a 20-something episode series that *is going to air whether you like it or not* were set in stone.

    Take that fact, and combine it with the fact that DS9 was a very special-effects-and-makeup-centric kind of series, and also the fact that the TOS movies, TNG, and the TNG Movies had set a standard for what Star Trek *had* to be at that point, and you begin to see how DS9 was doing the best it possibly could do, with phaser rifles pointed at it from every direction.

    These days, streaming has altered the audiovisual entertainment game quite a bit. I'm not sure how, but it is different, to say the least. We live in a very different world in July 2020, than we did in June 1998.

    I myself (unbeknownst to past me but knownst to present me) was about to be upheaved to Decatur, Alabama of all places, wondering what the heck was going on, as my family would moved to the South in anticipation of soon moving up to Nashville, TN in 1999 (it's a long story). I didn't actually get to see this episode when it aired, and I have just now finally gone back and watched it on Netflix.

    I feel like Jadzia's death has been given short shrift in the Star Trek Fandom. Knowing what I know about how DS9 ends, it all seems to come together in a way, and Jadzia getting blasted by Paghwraith-Possessed Dukat comes off as a lot more shocking than it might have if I had watched it as a 15 year old (yes I just gave away my age).

    It comes off to me, as a level of quality in terms of "Star Trek Dramatic Deaths" that approaches 1:1 with The Wrath of Khan.

    That *hurt.*

    Tasha Yar, Lal, James Kirk, and even Data's original death in Nemesis all seemed like paltry executions of clauses which were added to an actor's contract. Data's new "death scene" in the finale of Picard is possibly one of the only real plot developments in that series' first season that I really care about, so it gets a bit of a pass, but I really hope Alex Kurtzman gets fired soon.

    Jadzia Dax's death is definitely not in "bridge drop" territory. It's true that it is emotionally manipulative and "90's TV-ish" in the extreme, but the impact it has, finally watching it now, DECADES after having skipped to the end of DS9 cuz I just didn't wanna miss it, and wondering who the fuck Ezri Dax was ("she died?!"), finally brings it full circle for me... "Oh. That's a rather hefty loss."

    From everyone's reactions to the scene, I had always assumed that the episode in question had "Dropped A Bridge" on Jadzia, but I don't find that to be the case. Her death is a gaping wound, the death of a character whom I had come to know from having watched the first 5 seasons of DS9 in my youth, and now, only with the benefit of hindsight can I infer what I might have felt at the time.

    I feel gutted. That was brutal, and btw, Dukat has officially crossed the line from mere villainy into Marvel Comic Level Super-Villainy.

    Shit is about to go down in the Alpha Quadrant. I would give this episode the other 1/2 star.

    I expected so much more than this. I'd give it no more than 2.5 stars. Reasons:

    1. Star Wars knock-offs including shooting the power source (and didn't they do that in an earlier S6 episode?) and Ben feeling the prophets.

    2. Dax's pointless, contrived, Yar-like death.

    3. Stupid demonic eyes and voice - it was laughable in The Reckoning and never expected it to resurface.

    4. Too many unanswered questions/things to tie up.

    5. A bit dull for 3/4 of the show. All too laboured pee-battle, as if it were feature length.

    6. Bored of the CGI battle sequences. BTW, how come shields don't protect you from an oncoming ship?!

    I'll say 4/5, when Wayoun and Damar are dumbstruck at the wormhole collapsing and Dukat calling it a victory , I full heartedly agreed with Wayoun, the Prophets aren't winning this war for the Alliance , Sisko is one captain amongst thousands in starfleet , also those wormhole aliens only get involved if their existence is on the line , they couldn't care less about a raging war that doesn't involve them, Dukat should of known this if he claimed to have insight on the Prophets .

    Wayoun pretty much resonates with the sentiment of the viewer towards Dukat at this stage of show , meaning ;
    -oh he's still here
    -that was a whole big nothing burger
    - I sincerely hope that was the last of Dukat , his plan brought nothing to the battle of Chintoka except relieving Terry Farrell of an ugly contract dispute.

    I don't understand Starfleet's stance (in the form of Admiral Ross here) I know the wormhole aliens aren't God, but the fact is, they have helped Sisko before. They stopped the Dominion fleet from invading. Why can't Starfleet trust that they might have some reason for not wanting Sisko to go? That seems fair

    Aside from the battle scenes, I thought this episode was terrible.

    The conversations between Damar, Weyon and Dukat, which take up much of the episode, and which take place on a phony-looking set, reek of Bad Cartoon Villain Dialogue ("It is a mistake to underestimate our enemy!" they literally say). A better script would omit all this completely.

    Dax's arc throughout this episode is also a bit tasteless. Her out-of-the-blue need to have babies is not only unconvincing, but a bit insulting; it's as though her death is supposed to be sadder, and "now have added meaning", solely because she's made the decision to fulfill her "duties" as a mother.

    Odo and Kira's "fighting" is also poor; too often DS9 portrays its romantic couples as constantly bickering.

    Quark and Bashir's pining for Dax is also terrible. Bashir is acting far too juvenile, and Vic, the hologram, eats up far too much run-time.

    Admiral Ross' discussions with Sisko, meanwhile, make no sense. Ross knows the power of the wormhole aliens, and yet he unfairly prods Sisko to ignore them. With the wormhole aliens responsible for keeping Starfleet alive, Ross should be far more sensitive to Sisko's connections to them.

    Dukat's scenes are similarly awful. There's no zip to his dialogue, and his "beaming onto DS9" to do God-knows-what, is hokey. The "matter of fact" killing of Dax is similarly bad. It's an attempt to emulate old westerns (John Wayne dying in a mundane way), but it doesn't work. She deserved to go out big.

    This episode's Pahwraith and Prophets stuff is all bad, but it does lead to the episode's best line, in which Weyon disses Bajoran gods as "superstitious nonsense" whilst - deadpan and perfectly delivered - affirming the obvious divinity of the Founders.

    The "messages" Sisko receives from the Prophets continues to be hokily conveyed. Using DS9 cast-members as "mouthpieces" of the wormhole aliens has never aesthetically worked, yet the show persisted with this technique for 7 seasons.

    Martok is excellent throughout the episode, but Martok always is.

    The idea that our heroes could invade Cardassia and then return and speak to Dax on her deathbed is a bit unbelievable. Sisko's monologue to Dax's corpse was also poorly written. I'd ditch all the Dax baby talk in the first act and include instead scenes of Dax and Sisko discussing his anxieties. Then close the episode with a corpse monologue which mirrors this.

    The scene in which the wormhole vanishes is poor; there's no weight to its disappearance, and what should be a momentous event is discarded in seconds.

    The "Sisko abandons DS9 to go live on Earth" scenes which end the episode are also "shocking" for the sake of "shocking", and one shock too many. You've already had Dax die, Cardassia fall and the wormhole magically vanish. Another "shock" ending is one too many.

    I'd say this episode attempts to repeat the structure of "Way of the Warrior"; it spends its first half on banal scenes designed to "check in" on different cast members. Then it delivers its big CGI set piece. Then it picks up the pieces. But here, only the CGI set pieces work.

    I thought this was decent but not spectacular. But, @TheRealTrent you have any valid complaints.

    That room Dukat, Damar and Weyoun chat in is rather tiny, isn't it, for their stature? I didn't particularly notice before because I like the character interplay.

    Dukat's Pah Wraith arc is not exactly the most gratifying, though it is well established he's losing his sanity, so sort of makes sense.

    As for Ross sending The Sisko on this mission-- well, that's primarily because he's the lead of the show.

    In universe, it's conceivable Ross sees The Sisko as a genius, super lucky, or even literally god/prophet like.

    Speaking of Ross, for those who watched BSG, is Ross the same basic character as Bill Adama? (Or vice versa, but that's not the point)

    From older posts, regarding Jadzia's death, I rather like her just being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I HATE "meaningful" heroic deaths because they're done to death. I even liked Yar's for the same reason.

    That Dukat killed Jadzia worked well, especially since genuinely felt remorse and apologized, and knew it was a meaningless apology.

    I could have done without the "we're going to have a baby" opening though. That was a very tired cliche even when this was made and it was obvious she would die.

    I'd like to say that I watched DS9 all at once in order, but all at once....loooong after original airings. I've since watched DS9 no jhoke, every episode at least a dozen times....except for the 2 truly awful episodes.
    Anyways, esp on my original first watch, I didn't really like jadzia or the actress. But a strange thing some point that all changed but I didn't realize it. When she died I had no idea it was coming and it really hit me hard. I had grown to like the character and actress. Then later upon further never ending rewatches, I realized that at some point terry suddenly becomes a MUCH better actress AND her actual character is written much better.
    Also I'm kinda glad it happened the way it did, she was a trill and it honestly seemed a bit odd to never take advantage of that in a way to have her given to another host. The comparison isn't perfect, but it would be like Dr. Who not ever regenerating.

    "Anyways, esp on my original first watch, I didn't really like jadzia or the actress. But a strange thing some point that all changed but I didn't realize it. When she died I had no idea it was coming and it really hit me hard. I had grown to like the character and actress. Then later upon further never ending rewatches, I realized that at some point terry suddenly becomes a MUCH better actress AND her actual character is written much better."

    I am in the same boat as you in that I watched DS9 after its original airing, but now have watched it many times over (although not dozens of times as you have, except maybe a handful of key episodes).

    I think that what you are talking about is more of a tv phenomena. TV shows that are long running and build up a significant following tend to breed a certain loyalty in their audiences. That loyalty and good will trickles down to all the characters.

    Look at it this way: as someone who watched DS9 as often as you did, it must have become like a friend and companion to you. And all of its characters became like your friends. And we are far more forgiving of the faults of our friends than strangers.

    As an aside, that was the genius of the MCU. By interconnecting their movies through a shared universe where the same characters could appear in different films, Marvel was replicating an effect that was mostly confined to tv shows previously. Instead of spending 60 or 90 minutes building the bond between audience and characters, you build it over 40 hours worth of films. It was genius.

    My point being, your change of heart about Jadzia co-incided with your changed emotional relationship with her. It's easy to overlook an actress's faults when she's basically your girlfriend :)

    Killing off Jadzia Dax was bad enough (read: total waste).

    Replacing her with perky zippy Ezri was a worse crime (annoying, kind of pointless character).

    I think it would have been WAY more interesting to have replaced Jadzia with another MALE host. All the characters who pined after Jadzia would have to reconcile their feelings in a way that would be interesting and real-world topical. I kind of doubt the writers would have done the concept justice, but Ezri was just such a big nothingburger of a character. Alas.

    Also...more Vic. UGH that character was obviously the writers' pet passion but he just SUCKS the oxygen right out of the show's runtime. And he does it over and over and over throughout Seasons 6 and 7.

    Well, one of the reasons they replaced Jadzia with another female character was because the writers wanted another female main character on the show. They specifically said before season seven started that one of the reasons they went with another female host was they didn't want the cast to be "all the guys and Major Kira."

    Berman-what an ass that guy is. If he pulled the stuff he did to women today, he would be so canceled. I hated how they killed off Dax. They did not even discuss how she died. That is not even normal. Does anyone know on the station who killed her and how? Even years later this highly annoys me.

    The most worthless death of a main cast character in all of Star Trek, I'd have to say. I'm most annoyed with Terry Farrell for leaving the show. Jadzia was her best role, the rest of her gigs were fairly mediocre. She gave up something grand for something lackluster, disrupting a harmony between an entire cast. Things just weren't the same after Jadzia died. Jadzia was the heart of the crew and she brought out qualities in all the other characters that we never really saw again once Ezri came onto the scene.

    Furthermore, does the Federation have no internal security alarms for when a random person uses Dominion transporter technology to just beam onto the station? Not the mention the Orb itself, something incredibly precious to the Bajorans, being unguarded. If the Dominion could just beam onto the station willy nilly, then they've been using the wrong tactic to win the war.

    The rest of the episode was epic and I loved it. Watching Weyoun discredit other Gods while favouring his own, Jem Hadar kamikaze into Klingon ships, and seeing the wormhole burst open with red light before collapsing, were all great moments.

    Jadz had a nice little fanny and was cute, but that's about it. Eye candy. See ya!

    The "prophets" angle: Ugh. Pass.

    Making The Cisco the supreme commander for the invasion: LOL! Give me a break.

    The invasion itself: It's like Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin deciding Tuesday afternoon to launch an invasion on the Nazis Thursday morning and being in control of Berlin by Thursday nightfall. Absurd doesn't begin to describe it. Shallow, perfunctory, rushed, dumb.

    The Cisco punking out and leaving for Nuh Ohleeynz: But what about that little girl he'd made a promise to, to try to bring the "prophets" back? As Mr. Omar would say: "Tragic. TRAGIC!" Any chance he'll stay there for the duration of Season 7? One can but hope, and hope springs eternal.

    As episodes go, mediocrity personified. As season finales go, awful. Two stars, and that only because of the appearance of Murtoq, the Rommie senator, and (a cameo by) Garak.

    I didn't mind this episode. Not the best, not the worst. I agree that Jadzia's death was kind of meaningless. But I would say it was done better than Yar's.

    Rewatching the episode, something is bugging me. This isn't specific to this episode, this is an issue with Trek in general.

    During scenes with multiple ships, nobody ever has a force field except the main ship. You see Galaxy and Excelsior class ships taken out with one phaser hit. I hate that.

    Was there any result from the attack? It just seems pointless.

    I'm also dissatisfied by the lack of continuity between Damar and Dukat. They just sorta shrug at each other when they meet.

    "Replacing her with perky zippy Ezri was a worse crime (annoying, kind of pointless character)."

    Nonsense. I liked seeing her reconcile all of those past hosts (especially since she was not supposed to one in the first place) and the relationships Jadzia had built during her time on DS9, particularly Worf and Bashir.

    Plus, Nicole DeBoer was amazing to look at. Still is.

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