This is it, the final season of Deep Space Nine.  I can’t believe that we started this series right at a year ago and here we are coming into the home stretch.  We have seen this crew face a lot this past year from crazy board games to a full on invasion so what could they face in their final season?  Well, that is what we are here to find out.

Today we discuss the episode that originally aired over twenty years ago on September 30, 1998, this is Image In The Sand.

The Episode:

Station Log star-date undetermined  Image In The Sand

Three Months after the events of Tears of the Prophets, the crew of Deep Space Nine are still coping with the loss of the Prophets, Ben Sisko and Jadzia Dax.  As the newly promoted Colonel Kira tries to keep the station crew intact, Sisko himself desperately tries to regain contact with the Prophets.

The Breakdown:

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Colonel Kira watches on the Promenade as members of the Cult of the Pah Wraiths prey for guidance.  Odo and Kira begin discussing her new role as the leader of the station acknowledging her role in the war with the Dominion. Kira feels abandoned, not only by the Prophets but also by Sisko himself, who has been absent without word for three full months. As the Defiant returns from another convoy escort mission, it is clear that Worf is covering his pain by diving into his duties as XO of the small starship. The crew, on the other-hand, is far from agreement. 

image 2Back on Earth, Ben plays piano at his father’s restaurant hoping to contact the Prophets in some way.  Without warning his baseball falls from the piano and he has a vision of a face in the sand.  He suddenly realizes, he needs to find the woman who’s face was in his vision.

From here on out we will break it up into the three main branches to make this easier to navigate.  

Story A: Kira in Command

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Kira learns from Admiral Ross that the Romulans plan to set up an office on DS9.  Kira does not like the idea but Ross assures her that their presence is only temporary.  Complementing her on her job so far, she informs the Admiral that she has no plans to keep her position when Sisko returns.

On Cardassia, Weyoun and Damar discuss the ongoing war.  It is clear that Damar is coping with issues by drowning his concerns in kanar.  Somehow the war has shifted in their favor and Weyoun is concerned that it might shift back if they are not careful.

Kira meets with Cretak, the leader of the new Romulan delegation in order to make the new arrival feel welcome.  Cretak seems to be much more amicable than Kira expected even indicating that her people have a tendency to be fairly arrogant.  Cretak assures Kira that she is there to help work toward their common goal, nothing more.

Kira is shocked when she finds the Romulan delegate enjoying a Jumja Stick on the promenade.  Cretak indicates that she was curious as to the flavor and informs Kira that a squadron of Romulan Warbirds will be arriving in the morning.  Cretak asks if it would be possible to setup a hospital on Bajor’s uninhabited fourth moon and Kira agrees to ask on her behalf.

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After reviewing the casualty report together, Cretak is clearly gracious for Kira’s help with the Romulan hospital.  Later, however, Odo indicates that the hospital recently refused a ship of wounded Vulcans.  After inspecting the matter further, Odo has discovered that the Romulans may be stockpiling torpedo in their medical facility.

With the new knowledge in hand, Kira informs Cretak that the hospital on the moon is to be shut down.  The Bajoran government is not happy that the Romulans are stockpiling weapons.  Kira informs Cretak that they either remove the weapons or leave.

Story B: Mourning Worf

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Worf is still dealing with the pain of his lost love, waking up in his room to a photo by his bedside.  Visiting Vic Fontaine, Worf insists that the holographic lounge singer sing the song entitled ‘All the Way’ It is clear the song has a deep meaning to Worf and, despite Vic’s warnings against, the Klingon insists.  Halfway through the song Worf loses it and begins destroying tables in the club much to Vic’s dismay.

Vic calls in Quark and Bashir to show the aftermath of Worf’s breakdown. Vic asks his friends for help even indicating that the band is threatening to quit. Bashir agrees to talk to Worf, noting that ‘All the Way’ was Jadzia’s favorite song.

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Miles brings Worf a vintage bottle of blood wine to his friends room in order to help his former Enterprise crew-mate through his difficult times. It is soon clear that Worf has no interest in visiting with Miles but the Chief refuses to leave.  The two begin reminiscing about Barkley and his holodeck adventures forcing the Klingon to try and relax.

The next morning Miles finds Quark and Julian in the bar and tells them about his time with Worf.  Clearly with a headache, Miles indicates that their friend is upset because Jadzia is not in Stovokor.  The only way Worf can get his wife into the Klingon afterlife is to fight in a glorious battle but, since Jadzia’s death, the Defiant has been locked into convoy duty.  Miles and Julian decide to discuss the matter with General Martok.

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Martok soon joins Worf in the holosuite as the Klingon Security Chief practices his Bat’leth.  Martok offers Worf a job as his first officer on a dangerous mission that will be enough to ensure his beloved a place in the Klingon afterlife.

With Worf heading into battle, Julian informs his friends that he too plans to join Martoks dangerous mission, he wants to help Jadzia get into Stovokor.  Miles volunteers to accompany Julian on his mission in order to protect the Doctor from harm. With them both heading into battle, Quark is shocked at their desire to kill themselves for someone who is already dead.

Story C: The Sleeper Awakens

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Ben Sisko works on trying to figure out how the woman in his vision looked.  Jake watches Ben’s work and has a feeling he has seen the woman before.  Bringing his father a photo, Ben is shocked to see the woman in his vision with his own father.  Confronting his dad about the photo, Joseph immediately becomes confrontational about her identity only making Ben and Jake that much more curious.

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That night Ben confronts Joseph about the woman in the photo.  Joseph tries to dissuade Ben from digging any deeper but Joseph is absolutely resistant.  Ben demands answers and, after nearly getting physical with his father, Joseph tells his son that the woman’s name was Sarah and she was not only his first wife but also Ben’s biological mother. Sarah and Joseph were married for two years when she disappeared from their lives with no explanation.  Joseph spent years trying to find her and, when he did, he discovered that she had been killed in a hovercraft accident while working as a photographer in  Australia.  He had kept the secret from Ben his entire life despite Ben’s step mothers urging otherwise. Ben sees this revelation as the first step in his journey to reconnect with the Prophets.

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Ben finds himself cleaning shellfish on the restaurants back stoop when Joseph offers one of Sarahs necklaces to his son.  Ben is shocked to see that the necklace has Ancient Bajoran writing on it and soon he begins researching the letters to find out what it means.  After hours of searching, Ben determines that the locket says ‘Orb of the Emissary’ indicating that there is another orb and he must now go to Tyree as that is where he was in his vision.

That night as Sisko prepares for his journey to Tyree he is approached by a young man claiming to have come to speak to The Emissary.  After chanting in ancient Bajoran, the young Bajoran attacks Ben and slashes him with a knife.  Ben falls to the ground bleeding out in the alley way.

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The next morning, after returning from the hospital, Ben informs his father that the young Bajoran was a member of the Cult of the Pah Wraiths and had been sent to prevent the Emissary from completing his job.  This only spurs the Captain on as he takes it as a sign that he is on the right path.

Ben prepares to leave and is shocked to find that both his son and Father have decided to accompany him on his journey.  They are interrupted by a visit from someone unexpected, a young Trill named Ezri Dax.

To be continued…

Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:

What a way to open a the final season.  Not only do we get the story going from the get go, we have a definitive continuation from the tragic events that closed season six.

One of the things that I love about this series is it’s continued work on character development and growth. As we have journeyed with these characters we have seen them become better and stronger versions of the people we first met so long ago.  Their journeys have taken them to numerous places both physically and mentally with each journey leaving it’s mark on them time and again.

This season opener could have easily been a complete refresh with events happening between seasons to be explained later but, instead, the writers chose to pick up in the same time period that we had originally waited in between seasons, three months.  A lot can happen in three months and, in this series, it certainly did.  Not only has Sisko been gone for the entire length of time, but everyone else has spent these months dealing with the fallout of his departure and the death of Jadzia.  Kira has taken command of the station, Worf is having trouble with the fate of his wife’s soul and Sisko is desperately seeking for answers.  While we all know that these journey’s will come together in the end, this episode felt like the start of several grand adventures that, frankly, I am looking forward to reliving yet again.

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Let’s dive in to each story a little bit shall we. Starting with Kira and her command.  Not much has changed for Kira other than baring the weight of command but much of that is because of her unwavering faith that this position is only a temporary one.  To her, she is just warming a seat for Sisko as her commander deals with his own personal mission.  In a way, this is a great coping mechanism for Kira by allowing her to not fully accept that her new posting may be more permanent than she would like to believe.  Outside of that, she is still the same Kira we have grown to love albeit one with a little more power behind her bite.

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Worf, on the other hand, has fallen into the sullen rage we have seen before. Interestingly, while we got a short taste of this with the death of K’Ehleyr, we never really got a chance to see Worf fully mourn a loved one. Sure, as far as Worf was concerned, his previous love was enjoying herself in Stovokor but didn’t they die in a pretty similar fashion?  Come to think of it, even though K’Ehleyr did get a chance to fight back, her death was as much of a surprise as Jadzia’s was.  Maybe it was extenuating circumstances but, regardless, Worf’s journey in this season is starting out to be one of redemption, not just for himself, but for the woman he loved.  Just wait till he finds out Dax is still alive in the form of Ezri….that’s going to be interesting…

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Finally there is Ben Sisko.  Much of Deep Space Nine’s story has centered itself on The Emissary.  Sure, it took several seasons to get some proper character development into Ben but once that started, it became obvious that he would be the crux of the matter.  Sisko’s transformation from skeptic to believer can be sketched across the series bringing us to this very moment in time where he realizes his place among the Bajoran people. He firmly believes that, as the Emissary, he has failed, but maybe this journey is what the Prophets intended all along, surly a non-linear species saw everything unfold and are now just allowing it to happen again.  I guess you just have to have faith and a strong pah.

Interestingly the characters that seemed least affected by the change in status quo appear to be the one’s making attempts to keep their friends from falling off the deep end.  From Julian, Miles and Quark finding ways to help Worf to Odo backing up Kira to even Joseph and Jake in their support of Ben, these support characters are doing the very thing they were destined to do, move the plot forward and help get their friends from point A to point B.   Now, don’t think I am downplaying their importance to the story, not in the least. In fact, without these character, our leads in this particular story would still be waiting around for Gadot.

Gleanings and Cool Bits:

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  • We get our first look at the ninth host of the Dax symbiont in Ezri Dax. I remember being shocked that they had replaced Jadzia so quickly but, then again, it’s not like that worm is going to just hang around waiting for a host! We have certainly not seen the last of her.
  • We discover that Ben’s biological mother has a connection to Bajor, what connection could that be?
  • We see that Damar is once again taking to the Bottle.  Like I said, there is a certain character development that occurs and, staying to his established character, this Cardassian likes to drink when stressed. Notice it started up again when a certain Gul reappeared…

Thanks for reading the Retro TV Review,  I look forward to discussing the rest of the series with you, one episode at a time every Monday, Wednesday and Friday!  Next Review: Shadows and Symbols

If you would like to read more reviews I have a weekly series called Key Movies Of My Life that comes out every Thursday and for more retro TV goodness check out the rest of the Retro TV Reviews here.

As always, please feel free to comment below and share your experiences with these episodes as well. If you just happened by, tell me what you think! Don’t Forget To Follow me if you like the blog!

Late To The Game 2/5/2020

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Joseph: ‘sorry ma’am, we’re closed’  Ezri: ‘It’s Okay, I know the Owners Son!’

Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available.  Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.

Star Trek and all related marks, logos and characters are solely owned by CBS Studios Inc. This fan production is not endorsed by, sponsored by, nor affiliated with CBS, Paramount Pictures, or any other Star Trek franchise, and is a non-commercial fan-made production intended for recreational use.  No commercial exhibition or distribution is permitted. No alleged independent rights will be asserted against CBS or Paramount Pictures.”

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