The day the Federation has feared has finally come to pass, Earth has been compromised, or has it? Fine out on the episode that originally aired on January 1, 1996, this is Homefront.
Station Log Stardate 49170.65 Homefront
When Sisko is called back to Earth, he discovers that the Changelings may have already infiltrated Star Fleet Command itself…
Jadzia and Sisko observe the Wormhole opening and closing at random intervals. Soon Sisko is called to ops where he learns that an explosion on Earth during a Romulan/Federation Conference has taken the lives of 27 people and they believe that a shapeshifter is responsible.
Sisko contacts his father to inform him that they will be returning to Earth to help deal with the issues at hand. His father is excited to see his son and grandson again, insisting that they both stay with him in New Orleans during their visit. While Captain Sisko informs his son that they will be staying with his grandfather, Julian and O’Brien manage their worries for Earth by recreating World War II dog fights.
Arriving on Earth, Captain Sisko and Odo meet with Admiral Layton and Commander Benteen to discuss the Changeling matter. It is clear that Star Fleet command wants to know more about the Changeling threat and need Sisko’s help to deter the threat. Ben is shocked when Layton makes him the acting head of Starfleet Security for Earth until further notice.
Ben and Jake visit Joseph Sisko at his restaurant as the elder Sisko serves them gumbo. Joseph is dismayed that the changelings have attacked but is reassured that his son is on the case. Just as things begin getting serious, they are surprised by a visit from Cadet Nog who is excited to get Tube Grubs from Joseph as the Ferengi has become a regular customer.
The next morning, Sisko and Layton visit the Federation President who is interested in reviewing Sisko’s precautions against the changling threat. It is clear that the President is not as concerned about the threat as Starfleet is and Sisko demonstrates the danger by smuggling Odo in as a briefcase. Now seeing how vulnerable the government is, the President allows Sisko to institute blood tests and random phaser sweeps in high level areas. Captain Sisko assures the President that they will do everything in heir power to maintain the peace on Earth. Soon, Sisko and Benteen begin instituting the security measures when they are interrupted by Nog who needs to speak to Sisko privately. Nog asks Sisko to recommend him to join Red Squad as it is the only way he can join the elite group.
Odo later meets up with Layton and Benteen who are impressed with his shape-shifting abilities. It is soon clear that Layton is not happy with him and, when Odo goes to shake the Admirals hand, he discovers that the Admiral is really a shapeshifter. Reporting the discovery to the real Admiral Layton, they are shocked that the detection methods in place are not working. Admiral Layton decides that the President needs to step down but us interrupted by a call from Jake indicating that Joseph Sisko has been arrested. Captain Sisko rushes to their side where he finds two young officers insisting that Jake and Joseph submit to blood tests. Joseph wants no part of it and Ben begins to suspect that his own father could be a Changeling. It is only when Joseph cuts himself that Ben realizes just how suspicious he has become.
That evening the entire power relay system of Earth is knocked out rendering Earth defenseless. Admiral Layton and team beam into the Presidents office and informs him that he must declare a state of emergency. Sisko, believing a Dominion war-fleet is on it’s way, follows Layton in his drive to secure the streets. Ben believes that, should a Jem’Hadar army make their presence known, the Earth is doomed without a defensive force on the ground. The President reluctantly declares a state of emergency, leaving the Earth in the hands of Sisko and Layton. Soon armed troops begin beaming down throughout the planet.
to be continued…
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
We are now getting into some of the most intense episodes of the season. This is where things take a turn and marks some of the first volleys of the coming War with the Dominion.
“Captain, there’s something you need to know. The Changeling, before he died, he whispered something to me. ‘You’re too late. We’re everywhere'”
With this single message, The Dominion began a psychological campaign against the very people that they wanted to destroy, The Federation. Knowing that Solids are, by nature, a distrusting people, the Changelings saw an opportunity to cause the people of the Alpha quadrant to begin to doubt not only their own leadership but their own friends and loves ones as well.
We see a lot of this self doubt and suspicion in not only Layton and Benteen but also in Sisko himself. In one key scene, the Captain catches himself believing that his own father could be a shapeshifter, furthering the threat in his mind that Admiral Layton insists has become a threat to the Federations very existence.
The episode itself is a solid one with everyone nailing their roles perfectly. This one is a great example of the quality of writing this series has and trust me, when we review part two, it will show you just how good these folks are at messing with your mind as well!
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- Ben Sisko indicated earlier in the series that his father had passed away, yet this episode introduces us to the elder Sisko.
- We learn that the Klingons killed their Gods centuries prior as they were more trouble than they were worth.
- Red Squad is mentioned for the first time but seems to be pretty similar to the Nova Squadron from the TNG Episode The First Duty. Nog makes it clear he wishes to be a member.
- Joseph Sisko suggests that changelings could easily circumvent a blood test by holding the blood of a solid in their body to make it look like they were bleeding as needed. This might be the explanation for something that has already taken place in a past episode…
- You may recognize Commander Benteen as she is played by Susan Gibney who also played Leah Brahms in Star Trek the Next Generation.
- This is the first time we see Ben Sisko wearing the TNG uniform since the pilot of the show implying that the DS9 uniform is specific to the type assignments the officer is participating in.
- As Odo heads off to join Sisko on the journey, Miles requests that the Shapeshifter check in on his family but Julian does not. There is a reason for this and it will be revisited.
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: Paradise Lost
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Late To The Game 8/21/2021 (Originally published 8/30/2019)
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.
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