Synopsis: With mounting losses in the Federation-Dominion war, and the specter of defeat, Captain Sisko enlists Garak’s help to “persuade” the Romulans to join the Federation/Klingon alliance to win the war. However Sisko soon learns that to save the Federation he may have to betray the values it stands for.
Memory Alpha Summary: Dance with the devil
Review: This one reminded me of Suspicions, where Beverly narrates her stupid decisions that nearly ended her career, but in the nick of time everything works out fine and she’s exonerated because ends justify the means.
Here, Sisko narrates all of his stupid decisions in order to try to get the Romulans into the Dominion war, but the stakes are more interesting. Instead of being Sisko’s career (which wouldn’t require a deus ex machina to help Avery Brooks keep his job), it’s his conscience and the actual morality of the ends justifying the means, which is inherently more interesting. More interesting still is that DS9 brings back the Romulans (which I’ve sorely missed in this series) in a way that makes sense. Stephen McHattie is great as Vreenak, the snarky Romulan of which we didn’t get enough of on TNG. And Garak shines again, playing to his duplicitous nature without an excess of witty repartee that has drowned some of his recent appearances.
This was the ideal episode to have a narration as Sisko wrestling with the morality of decisions during war is realistic and enlightening, a far more complex view of things than ever seen in Star Trek before. And the denouement was predictable but perfect. I was totally saying, “Now Sisko, erase this personal log. Do it. Do it! Yessssss. Now fade to black.”
One thing I have to mention that kind of bugs me about the Trek universe (and DS9 is especially guilty of this) is that anytime any less than proper character suggests anything salacious on the holodeck to another male, they encourage them to hang out with “slave girls.” First of all, on a show with many black actors it’s just a bit tone deaf at best, hurtful at worst. Secondly, is there such little imagination that the only sexy thing they can think of for men to do on a holodeck is to have submissive playthings?