Synopsis: Sisko takes an untested Starfleet warship into the Gamma Quadrant in an attempt to find the Founders of the Dominion. On his homeworld, Odo learns about his people while back on the station, Sisko discovers that the price the Federation is willing to pay for peace with the Dominion may be too high; The Founders learn that the only way they are going to take over the Alpha Quadrant is through war.
Memory Alpha Summary: DS9’s version of Q Who
Review: Another episode that shows how much better the writing is on DS9 versus TNG. Allowing use of a warship and a cloak makes perfect sense, given the Federation’s apparent weaknesses in firepower compared to nearly every major race in the Alpha and Gamma quadrant. It also gives the special effects people more fun and makes space battles in the show more tense. I wish they had been able to keep the Romulan T’Rul on board the Defiant, as a Romulan character whose motivation isn’t solely “destroy the Federation” would have been nice.
Part two of the episode disappointed many fans with a deus ex machina (“it was all a simulation!”) ending, but I loved it because it was an intentional ploy by the writers to fuck with the audience in much the same way the crew of the Defiant was being fucked with. The sudden realization that Odo’s two-season desire to return home has just been subverted is what makes the moment so powerful. It also makes the Dominion extra damn scary. Plus, any excuse to bring back Admiral Nechayev and Garak is welcome in my book.