This is it. The finale to Deep Space Nine. Before I begin I want to thank everyone who has stuck with me through these and the STNG reviews. When I started this project over three years ago I never expected that I would still be working on these. I mean, I had hoped to be but you know how things tend to fall away over time. This has been such a blast to do and frankly, I couldn’t have kept it up without your support. Thank you!
Okay, with that being said we come to the finale episode of what is considered by many to be one of the greatest Star Trek Series ever made. Not only did this series introduce us to a whole new quadrant, it changed the way Star Trek was presented going from an episodic formula to an ongoing narrative. So, originally broadcast on June 2, 1999. This is What You Leave Behind.
Station Log Star Date 52902.0 What you leave behind…
The Allied Anti-Dominion Front launches it’s final attack on the Dominion while an even greater threat appears on Bajor at the behest of Kai Winn herself.
This is a feature length episode so this part will be quite long. I’ll try to keep it as short as possible.
On the eve of the battle, The crew begin their final preparations saying farewell to their loved ones. Julian and Ezri awake next to one another making a pact to survive the war together, The O’Brien’s discuss Miles’ opportunities at Star Fleet after the war and the Sisko’s deal with morning sickness. Soon however, they are off to battle the Dominion at Cardassia Prime.
On Cardassia, the Female Shapeshifter prepares her troops for the incoming Allied fleet. They soon learn that Damar may still be alive and begin the hunt to finish him once and for all. As the Dominion prepare to take down Damar and face the incoming fleet, Damar, Garak and Kira put the final touches on their rebellion by ensuring the people of Cardassia will rise up to disrupt the Dominion Rule just as the Federation Fleet arrives.
As the Defiant heads into Dominion space, the crew keep occupied with small talk about their personal lives. Ezri gets Worf’s blessing on her new relationship while Mile’s tries to tell Julian about his new job at Starfleet Academy. As Sisko confers with Odo about the fate of Colonel Kira, he suddenly finds himself with the Prophets, who tell him that ‘His Journey’s End lies not Before him, but Behind him’, giving him a lot to think about.
Just as the Dominion Headquarters begin their final defense plans, they find themselves without power. It seems that the people pf Cardassia are rising up against the Dominion and the Female Shapeshifter is not pleased. Weyoun, however, decides that they need to take the fight to the people as it seems they need a lesson as to who is in charge.
Sitting in the darkness, the revolutionary leaders soon realize that the Dominion is not playing when Weyoun announces the destruction of an entire city in retaliation for the uprising. Now inspired to make a stronger attack, Damar, Kira and Garak plan to strike at the heart of the Dominion for one final attempt to retake Cardassia Prime. Soon however, their plans are derailed when Mila is killed by Jem’Hadar troops and the trio are captured. Knowing that they have everyone where they want them, the Founder orders the trio killed and not brought in for questioning. Just as they are about to be executed, however, the Cardassian Soldiers accompanying the Jem’Hadar break rank and rescue the Revolutionaries. It seems the Cardassian Uprising has indeed begun.
As Kira’s team rally against the Dominion, the Joint Federation Armada begins it’s attack on the Dominion fleet. The battle is fierce but everyone on the Defiant everyone is pulling together to survive. Before long, it seems the joint alliance is not doing well although the Dominion is unable to contact their ships. The tide turns when the Cardassian Fleet begins to attack the Dominion ships giving the Joint Armada a fighting chance. The uprising has spread to the ranks and the end begins for the Dominion.
Back on Cardassia, The Founder orders the Dominion Fleet to pull back and regroup at Cardassia Prime. Knowing that their subjugated people are far from taking back their planet, Weyoun and the Founder execute Legate Broca before he can betray them. The Founder orders the extermination of all Cardassians, immediately.
With the Dominion Fleet retreating to Cardassia Prime, Ross, Martok and Sisko decide to take the fight to them knowing that this may be their last chance to win the war. With the incoming fleet, Kira, Garak and Damar lead their civilian troops to take over the Capitol with Garak desiring nothing but revenge for the death of Mila. Fighting their way to the Dominion headquarters, the Trio find themselves unable to break in. Soon however the see Legate Broca dragged out giving them the opening they need. In the firefight, Damar is killed but his sacrifice rallies the troops to fight even harder.
Finally getting in, Garak kills Weyoun and the Founder refuses to call back her troops despite the fact that the Dominion has lost. Contacting the Defiant, Odo joins the group and convinces the Founder to withdrawal her troops from battle. He however, much to Kira’s dismay, has made an agreement to return to the Great Link in her place to cure his people. Returning to Deep Space Nine, The Founder signs an armistice with the Federation Alliance. The war with the Dominion has ended with the Founder escorted to her fate with Star Fleet.
After ending the war, Martok, Sisko and Ross ask Worf to take up the position as the Federation Ambassador to the Klingon Empire. Worf accepts much to Martok’s delight. As Worf accepts his new position, Kira and Odo agree to go to the Dominion Homeworld together so that Odo can cure his people and teach them what he has learned about solids.
The crew go to Vic’s to celebrate the end of the war. Just as things look like they are winding down and the crew begin to accept the changes in their lived, Ben Sisko is hit with a message from the Prophets, something is wrong on Bajor. He realizes that he has to go to the fire caves on Bajor immediately and heads to the planet below.
The Final Battle
As the Battle for Cardassia occupies the rest of the galaxy, , Kai Winn reluctantly agrees to re-team with Dukat in their final effort to free the Pah Wraiths. Together they manage to find the fire caves and summon the Pah Wraiths filling the caverns with demonic fire. The two begin their ceremonies and Kai Winn reads from the Kosst Amojan summoning the ancient enemy into the universe. Kai Winn gets her revenge on Dukat by poisoning him in a sacrifice to the the Pah Wraiths but is shocked when the Pah Wraiths choose him to be their Emissary restoring Dukat to his former self.
Ben Sisko arrives to put an end to the Pah Wraiths but soon finds himself overpowered by the Anti-Emissary’s power. Using his newfound Powers, Dukat forces Sisko to bow to him. Dukat believes he has won, but Ben is certain that all is not lost. Kai Winn surprises Dukat when she tries to stop Dukat herself and, just before being obliterated, tells Sisko to destroy the Book. Taking his queue, Sisko knocks both himself and Dukat off of the ledge into the fire below, killing them both in the process. Ben finds himself with the Prophets who tell him that his time has come to rest as his journey is over.
Back on the station, it seems Ben Sisko has gone missing. While his ship has been found, he is no longer around. Kasidy is worried but, just as she is about to give up, Sisko calls her to him and tells her what has happened. He promises that, although he can’t come back yet, he will be back one day, maybe even yesterday. They part with Kasidy knowing her husband has become what he was always destined to be and she knows that she will be waiting for his return.
In the end, everyone part ways remembering the best times in their stay on Deep Space Nine. O’Brien remembers his friendship with Julian, Worf remembers his arrival and adventures with Dax, Odo and Kira cherish their relationship, Quark laments the loss of his friends as he remembers the good times in his bar, finally Kasidy and Jake remember Ben Sisko and the great man that he was for them both.
Odo and Kira head out to return him to his home planet but, despite his reluctance for no goodbyes, Quark slips in and gets a final word in. As Odo departs, Quark is convinced that the shape-shifting Constable loves him and the two were best of friends. Returning to his homeworld, Odo says farewell to Kira with one final kiss with him dressed in his tuxedo. Stepping into the Great Link, Odo begins the healing of an entire species.
Back on the station, Colonel Kira takes command of Deep Space Nine telling the newly promoted Lt Nog that Sisko would have been proud of him. Kira notes that Ben has left his baseball, indicating that the Emissary will indeed return one day. After making her rounds, including locking down Quark from starting a betting pool, she and Jake share a final moment on the promenade gazing at the wormhole. Jake misses his father and hopes that one day, they will meet again…
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
Okay, I’ll admit, I might have gotten teary eyed at the end of this even though I have seen this series a ridiculous amount of times. There is sooooo much going on in this episode that there is no way not to get a little choked up seeing a crew who we have watched for seven years part ways. In a way, it is almost like leaving your friends at the end of High School, knowing that you will never see many of them ever again.
Like I mentioned above, this is a pretty dense episode so breaking it all down may take a while, bare with me. Where to begin? How about starting with the War itself and the fall of the Dominion.
For so long now the Federation has faced a foe unlike anyone we have ever encountered. Sure the Borg were a threat but compared to the Founders and the Dominion they seemed like nothing more than a galactic ant infestation. Sure, we get a lot more Borg action in Voyager, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves huh?
Here was a species that lived to subjugate others. Not only would they take over other planets and systems, and even appear as anyone they desired, but they would also genetically bred species in order to create their own chimera of a culture that included not only a warrior race but also a diplomatic one as well. While their origins remain vastly unknown, although I have my suspicions as to where they came from, over time they managed to not only take over an entire quadrant of space, but also managed to remain relatively unknown to the people that they dominated. Think back to the first few times we met heard of the Dominion. Each time the Founders were only mentioned in whispers with some even believing the Vorta themselves to be the ones in charge. Talk about a powerful foe.
Although they were indeed the all-powerful Shadow Empire of the Gamma Quadrant, they had never faced the sheer audacity and stubbornness of the Humans of the Federation. Yeah, I know that the Federation is made up of more than humans, but let’s be honest, had it not been for the insanity humanity brings with it, this war would have been over before it began. Lets be honest, it probably wouldn’t have started to begin with but that is beside the point. That being said, The Federation did not fully seem ready for this attack either. In fact, I have a feeling that the Federation had allowed itself to get a little cocky after their triumph over the Borg. I mean, from their perspective how could there be anything more fearsome and dangerous than cybernetic killers from space?! I guess the answer as simple, subjugating shapeshifters for the win!
All that aside, talk about a final showdown. With the Dominion being backed into a corner as the first fully joint Klingon/Federation/Romulan operation pounds at their door, it was certainly something to behold. I mean, at this point in the franchise never in the history of Star Trek have these three entities joined forces to face a common foe. In a way, this should have been the start of unparalleled peace between the cultures, but then after all this both the Remans attacked and the Romulan Sun exploded so…yeah. So much for that.
While the joint Federation Armada was indeed a formidable foe, Much of the success of the war against the Dominion stems from their inability to fully control the Cardassians and Legate Damar’s determination to set his people free. Frankly, the revolution against the Dominion was the definitive tipping point that brought it all to a close. The irony is certainly not lost on me with the Cardassians having just went through this very thing from the opposite end, but then again, what goes around comes around huh? I have to admit, I was rather sad to see Damar get killed in this last battle. Here was a Cardassian that could have led his people into a new golden age and, while he managed to rally the troops to stand up against their oppressors, without his singular understanding of what they must become, I fear that the Cardassian people will only return to their warmongering ways. Either that of Garak will end up taking over and, let’s be honest, that is not a really good option either.
Between the joint alliance and the Cardassian uprising, this was one of the most spectacular battles the series has ever seen on screen really setting up a future that has yet to be fully explored. Although we got a brief mention of the Cardassian reconstruction on Star Trek Picard, we still dont know much of what happened in the aftermath. We may yet learn more in future series but at this point, who knows what ramifications this singular eve had on the Federation in the future. Not even Voyager got a chance to explore this brave new galaxy having been lost through the entire event and beyond.
Having gone over the war itself, what about Sisko’s own war with the Pah Wraiths? Just as things looked to be getting back to normal, Ben Sisko finally realized his purpose in the universe. While he was instrumental in stopping a dominating force from taking over the galaxy, his greater battle was just around the corner. With Kai Winn and Dukat finally releasing the Pah Wraiths into the universe, the only person who could stop these non-corporeal demons from destroying the entire Universe was none other than Ben himself. Making the ultimate sacrifice, Ben manages to save everyone by pulling himself and the possessed Dukat into the fire pits killing them both in the process.
Now, while it was a pretty impressive display I kinda felt that this ultimate struggle for the fate of the Universe ended a little sudden. I mean, here we had nearly two hours of a giant war for this even bigger spiritual war to last all of ten minutes? Sure, this is fully in character with Ben Sisko. I mean this is the guy that punched out Q causing the omnipotent being to turn his sights over to a ship in the Delta Quadrant, but still it seemed to be a little bit of a rush to me. That being said, I still get a little choked up when Ben finds himself in the presence of the Prophets and realizes that he has died in his mission to save the universe. Not only has he succeeded in his mission, but the warning his own mother gave him came true for him and the one’s he loves. Sure, he promises Kasidy that he will be back but when…and where? Plus, you have to admit, we all knew it had to go down between Dukat and Sisko one final time. These guys were the best nemesis for one another and their dynamic was nothing short of intense.
Speaking of endings, I still get emotional in that final farewell segment with everyone remembering their friends. Miles and Julian remembering their unlikely friendship, Quark remembering his friends at the bar, Odo and Kira remembering their relationship, Jake remembering his father and Worf remembering…Ezri?! What the heck?! This was the one part that really bothered me out of the entire episode. I mean, sure, Terry Ferrell had left the show (and I am sure her likeness was tied up) but there had to have been a way around that. Even if it showed the back of Jadzia’s head during their wedding. This has always bothered me and frankly still does. That being said, man, talk about an emotional ending. Plus, Odo returning to his home in a pretty heartbreaking moment, I have to wonder if we will ever see the founders again even though we will sadly never see Odo again. I guess only time will tell…
Even with it’s flaws, in the end we are left with, in this writers humble opinion, one of the finest Star Trek series ever made. With an excellent final episode and even final season, not only did this series establish itself as something vastly different than the traditional ‘exploration’ shows that Star Trek had become known for, it managed to also break the ‘story of the week’ model by allowing the series to embrace a continuing drama, especially in the final seasons. For the first time in the franchise, there were real repercussions for events that took place, we saw very real and very dramatic character growth as a result and boy does it show. Everyone in the series brought their best efforts at all times, from the cast of the show to the writers and directors of the series, this was one of the best joint collaborations to grace the small screen. While it had some hiccups here and there, this series had something that many shows to this day lack, a heart. For that, Deep Space Nine will always remain one of my favorite Star Trek series to this day. I just hope we have a chance to explore the fates of this crew in the future. Yes, I know some of that was hinted at in the Documentary ‘What We Left Behind’ but just remember, none of that is canonical….yet… I mean, he did leave his baseball…
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- There is a great moment between Quark and Vic Fontaine where it seems that the Ferengi Bartender is genuinely worried about his friends who are heading into war.
- O’Brien leaves DS9 to teach at Star Fleet Academy, honestly, I hope we get to see him as a professor one day.
- Miles mentions having to teach officers the difference between a ‘Warp Matrix Flux Capacitor and a Self Sealing Stembolt’. It appears that Doc Brown has been busy in this timeline…
- While we see Julian and Ezri finally together, we don’t get much of a chance to explore their relationship. Personally, I hope they made it.
- Garak gets to return home but finds himself in a world that is no longer his own. In an almost ironic twist of fate, much of what he knew has been destroyed leaving a planet and a people he barely recognizes.
- The official death toll for the Dominion war came to around 800 million dead.
- While Worf becomes a Federation Ambassador to the Klingon Empire, it seemed to be a short lived assignment as he somehow ends up back on board the Enterprise in Nemesis….yeah, can we pretend Nemesis never happened? Anyone?
- Plus, I have to ask again, what is it with the islands on the Founders Home World. Are they made of dead founders? Are they standing on a pile of shapeshifter corpses or did a bunch of sick shapeshifters just ‘make an island’ for Odo? I mean, that island does look kinda sick. I want to know!!!!
Thanks for joining me in my reviews of Deep Space Nine. This has been quite the fun journey but our adventure is far from over. Come back for the next review where we will be voyaging into a whole new quadrant… Tell then!
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 4/1/2020
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.”