Synopsis: When a Klingon fleet under General Martok arrives at the station ostensibly to protect the Alpha Quadrant from the Dominion, Sisko recruits Lieutenant Commander Worf to discover the Klingons’ true intentions.
Memory Alpha Summary: Michael Dorn finally gets to have fun
Review: After sputtering to the finish line in season 3, DS9 needed to make a statement in season 4. And they produced the goddamn Gettysburg address. This episode could have easily been “The show where they brought back Worf,” but it transcends that to be one of the best episodes of the series.
The Klingon/Federation alliance had always been tenuous, and what better than the Founders to break that apart. It brings a deeper sense of desperation to the show that TNG tried with the Borg but couldn’t really hold onto after Best of Both Worlds. Not only that, they make Worf immediately more likeable than he ever was while on the Enterprise. For starters, he’s allowed more depth of thought; Michael Dorn is a decent dramatic actor, and certainly better at that than growling at the screen. But perhaps more importantly, he’s allowed to kick some ass, something he almost never did before. He’s always supposedly been this great warrior who could win tournaments and was chief of security ,yet there’s a freaking YouTube video of all the times he got his ass kicked. Seeing him be that advertised warrior is very welcome.
And more than just the wonderful job they did with the overarching plot, every single character gets some good moments in this episode. Bashir gets some biting remarks into Dukat that don’t come off as him overcompensating.
Dukat: I find this whole procedure offensive.
Bashir: And I find you offensive. Now hold out your arm, or I’ll have a security officer do it for you.
Garak and Quark have a delightful conversation about root beer than is an allegory to their distaste yet simultaneous dependence on the Federation. And even Morn is tangentially involved in the plot despite continuing his silence whenever a camera is on him.
Garak: “Ah, but I dealt them several cutting remarks which, no doubt, did severe damage to their egos”
Bashir: “This isn’t funny.”
Garak: “I’m serious, doctor. Thanks to your administrations I’m almost completely healed! But the damage I did to them will last a lifetime…”
And I’m glad O’Brien and Worf spend at least a little time talking about the Enterprise, including joking about how often the holodeck malfunctioned. Worf even orders prune juice.
Did I mention the action sequences are amazing? TNG would kill for these special effects. Having an all-out battle royale with the Klingons is something that probably wasn’t possible until now.
I do have to mention a few things that annoyed me. Once again we’re reminded of the stupid treaty with the Romulans that says the Romulans can use cloaks but the Federation can’t. Whoever signed that treaty I hope is out of a job.
A larger annoyance is that during the denouement Sisko talks about how repairs are going well and life is returning to normal on DS9 without mentioning any of the many casualties they suffered during the battle. Seems kind of cold, like it was just a bunch of redshirts, you know?
Finally, the final line of the episode is ham city.
Kira: “Looks like the Klingons are here to stay.“
Sisko: “Maybe they are,
but so are we.“