Things are heating up as Odo finds himself unable to hold a cohesive shape for long periods and Gowron begins to show his ‘true leadership skills’.  With only a few episodes left in the series, originally broadcast on May 12,1999, this is Tacking Into The Wind.

The Episode:

Station Log Stardate ~52684.5 Tacking Into The Wind

Kira and the Cardassian Freedom Front plan their first major operation.  Bashir and O’Brien continue their attempt to find a cure for Odo and of course, the Klingons run into some issues.

The Breakdown:

Story A: Plans

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Kira and Garak continue their training of the Cardassian Freedom Front but things are not going as well as planned.  Odo however, is keeping a secret from his friends that Garak accidentally discovers much to the shapeshifters dismay.  It seems that his constant shape-changing during missions has escalated his deterioration.  Odo swears Garak to secrecy as the Constable does not want Kira to know the extent of the illness.

Soon a mission comes that forces Garak to break his promise and he finally informs Kira of Odo’s plight.  Much to the Tailors surprise, Kira already knows and has been keeping her lover from feeling inadequate due to his illness.  She agrees to let the shapeshifter continue his duties uninterrupted.

On Cardassia The Dominion find themselves facing multiple fronts as the Cardassian Resistance and the Klingons begin to give them trouble.  The Female shapeshifter, who is clearly falling apart (literally) makes it clear that something must be done about the multiple fronts before it is too late.  It seems Kira’s work with the Cardassians is giving them a bigger headache than they had believed possible.  Damar is now a target, more specifically Damar’s own family.

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Damar’s officer Rusot continues to taunt Kira indicating that she must be enjoying her ‘leadership’ over the Cardassians.  After pressing her to far, Kira demonstrates that she is no one to mess with causing Rusot to swear that he will kill her.  Garak, having witnessed the transgression, advises Kira to kill Rusot first.

While on their latest mission it becomes clear that things are heating up.  It seems that the Dominion have found Damar’s family and killed them.  Although Damar is devastated, this event only manages to make Damar realize that he once did that very thing to Bajoran people through Kira’s words pushing him to fight harder.  Dropping out of warp, the team reach their destination, a stolen Cardassian transport.

Taking Kira aboard a Jem’Hadar ship as a prisoner, the team soon find that the Cardassian crew are on their side and see Damar as their defacto leader.  Garak introduces Kira as Commander Rota, the deputy director of intelligence for the sector, and soon their ploy is interrupted by The Female Shapeshifter much to everyone’s dismay.  Taking a plasma Rifle from a Jem’hadar, the shapeshifter hands it to Garak revealing herself to actually be Odo.  After a brief skirmish, they soon discover that their mission is compromised when the Breen weapon they have been sent to steal is not installed yet.  They soon find themselves trapped on the bridge until the installation is completed.

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Soon Odo collapses as the Virus hits him in full.  Rusot chooses that moment to kill Kira and soon finds that he is alone in his resolution.  Both Garak and Damar defend Kira with Damar killing Rusot as there is no other choice.  Finishing their mission, Kira and her team manage to steal the Breen enhanced Jem’Hadar ship.  Heading back to Federation space, Kira comforts Odo as she informs him that she has known about his condition this entire time.

Story B: Blood of the Empire

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Gowron finds no solace from Ben Sisko when one of the Klingon Chancellor’s missions fails spectacularly.   Blaming Martok for the failure, it is clear that Gowron has it out for the General and may be planning to besmirch his name.

With Martok in criticle condition, Worf is summoned to Sisko’s office.  Ben informs his Klingon commander that they have a problem with Chancellor Gowron.  It seems that Gowron is playing politics with Martok’s life and the war itself forcing Martok to face defeat after defeat.  Sisko asks Worf to do whatever it takes to take down Gowron.

In the infirmary, Worf advises Martok to challenge Gowron for leadership.  Unfortunately Martok refuses indicating that it is not the honorable thing to do.  Martok believes that he is not worthy of being the Chancellor to which Worf indicates that the Klingon Empire would rally behind Martok as their leader no matter what. Martok refuses to listen as he believes attacking his Chancellor in a time of war would dishonor him and his name.

Worf informs Ezri that she is still a member of the House of Martok and would like her advice on how to handle the situation between Gowron and Martok.   She tells Worf that she believes that the Klingon Empire is dying and it deserves to die.  This is a warrior society that has become fully corrupted over time.  She believes something needs to be done as Worf has come to accept a government that has become corrupt.

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Gowron announces his plan to take on a major Cardassian installation which Martok believes is nothing but folly.  When challenged Martok backs down but Worf surprises everyone by defying his Chancellor’s commands.  Worf, after being insulted by Gowron, challenges Gowron to a duel despite Martok’s advice against it.  Worf kills the Chancellor in a fair fight and, despite everyone chanting his name as leader of the Empire, Worf hands the robe to Martok and asks him to lead the Klingon Empire.

Story C: Finding a cure.

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On the station, Julian continues his search for the cure to the disease Odo has contracted.  Miles, recognizing Julian’s determination and reluctance to face defeat, encourages the Doctor that they need to hunt down who is responsible for making the disease to begin with but to no avail.

Soon Miles comes up with a plan to trap Section 31 by claiming to have a cure for the virus.  O’Brien believes that an operative will show up on the station in order to put a stop to Julian work.  Soon the two put the plan into action.

Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:

With only three episodes left in one of the biggest Star Trek stories to date this episode serves as a major turning point for everyone in the series.  To say that the episode is about change is an understatement, this episode is all about moving into the future, even if that future is unknown.

Lets break this down by segment shall we? In Plans, we see a situation that would never have been dreampt of in the past.  Kira finds herself trying to not only free the Cardassians but also help them usher in a new era for them as a people.  All change is painful and we see this in the characters of Damar, Rusot and Garak.

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For Damar, he is the agent of change. Having once been a proponent for Cardassian rule over Bajor he was a student of Dukat himself.  However, after having experienced an occupation of his own world, Damar slowly began to realize that the only way for Cardassia to survive is to let go of the old mindset.  In many ways Damar represents the new future for Cardassia, a future willing to embrace change even if it is painful.  The loss of his own family and his realization that he did the same to the Bajoran people make him even more of a proponent for this, giving Cardassia a hope that it has never really had before.

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Standing opposite of Damar is that of Rusot.  Rusot is the personification of the Cardassian ‘Old World’.  He is a man who can not let go of his prejudices and, being forced to listen to a Bajoran Woman, makes him all the more frustrated at their situation.  Damar represents the traditional Cardassian ways and is there to show us how easily it would be to just give in to returning to them.  He is Damar’s friend and confidant but, also a negative influence that, eventually, Damar realizes needs to be excised.   Damar’s act of killing Rusot to save Kira and their mission, is symbolic of the change that Cardassia is about to face.  In order to survive, Cardassia must kill their old way of thinking and embrace the new.

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The wild card here is Garak. Having essentially been exiled from Cardassia, Elim Garak has never lost his loyalty to his homeworld although he has been forbidden to return to it.  Getting a chance to return home, even if it is to a very different version of his home, is something he can not resist so he finds himself picking the winning side of a larger battle.  Garak has made it clear in the past that he only ever chooses the side that is winning and, I have to believe that if Rusot had a chance at turning the tide, he would have gotten behind the Cardassian Traditionalist.  Garak is never to be trusted but he can be quite valuable if you find him on your side of things.

For Blood of the Empire, the story in this one is also about change and how sometimes you have to be an agent of change in order to push things forward.   It was clear from the start that Gowron was going to be a problem.  Even back in STNG, he was placed on the thrown (ironically by Worf) through his own political maneuvering.   While Gowron claimed that he had the best in mind for the Klingon people, the only thing Gowron has ever cared about was Gowron himself and the power that came with the position of High Chancellor.  Enter Martok.

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They say a good leader surrounds themselves with people more skilled and stronger than themselves and, in this case, this is more than true.  Martok is the personification of how Klingons see themselves while Gowron personifies what they have become. Martok is shown to be not only selfless but someone who is dedicated to the Empire in all things.  He is a man who would lay down his life if his leader commanded it because, to him, that is the way of things.  He is honored and loved by his own people and, while he has had some tough moments, he has always learned from his mistakes making him a great General to the Empire’s armies.  Martok’s fault and merit is that he sees himself as not deserving of greatness and only cares to make his Empire a better one through his deeds and actions. He is the complete opposite of Gowron in every way making him the perfect choice to lead the Klingon people to a brighter future, as long as they accept his ascendance to his supreme seat on the High Counsel.

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Worf finds himself at a crossroads in this one.  Having put Gowron in power himself, it is clear that he is struggling with his duty to his people and to his own government.  It is through the words of both Ben Sisko and, more importantly, Ezri Dax that he finally realizes that he needs to do something, anything, to stop Gowron from essentially sabotaging the war when the entire Alpha Quadrant is depending on a unified Klingon Empire to get through it intact. We see Worf hit a pinnacle moment in his life taking out the very Emperor he put in place, completing a circle and ushering in a new age for the Klingon Empire.

While we got to see a very tender moment between Kira and Odo regarding his deteriorating health, The last segment was mostly just setting things up for what is to come. Julian and Miles have a lot to do in order to get Section 31’s attention and this moment merely plants the seeds that we will certainly see grow over the next few episodes.

All in all, this was a fantastic episode with some significant plot points that continue to set the stage for things to come.  Interestingly we did not get any further insight in to Kai Winn and Dukat’s situation….I am sure that is to come.

Gleanings and Cool Bits:

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  • Technically Worf was the Klingon Emperor for a hot minute.  Talk about a resume builder!
  • This is the last we see of Gowron and Actor Robert O’Reilly in the role.  I have to say, despite his flaws as a leader, I loved the character of Gowron.
  • Odo’s portrayal of the Female Shapeshifter was pretty great.  I have to wonder if her own degradation was not actually his though…
  • It is interesting  that it is through a Bajoran that Cardassia is seeing such a major change.  Just goes to show you that you should probably be careful who you are a dick to.

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: Extreme Measures

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 3/25/2020

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Sure, just let me fall apart over here on my own.

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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