Fri
May 2 2014 2:00pm

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: “Apocalypse Rising”

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Apocalypse Rising“Apocalypse Rising”
Written by Ira Steven Behr & Robert Hewitt Wolfe
Directed by James L. Conway
Season 5, Episode 1
Production episode 40510-499
Original air date: September 30, 1996
Stardate: unknown

Station log: We get a summary of the events of “Broken Link,” most notably Odo stating that Gowron is a changeling, then we cut to Ops. Kira, Worf, and O’Brien are apprehensive because Sisko and Dax are late returning from their meeting with Starfleet Command. Kira and Worf get into a brief pissing match over whether or not to take the Defiant to search for them when the Rio Grande shows up—damaged, but intact and with Sisko and Dax safe.

For the first time since the Khitomer Accords, the Federation and Klingons are at war. Starfleet Command has assigned Sisko to lead an infiltration team to publicly prove that Gowron’s a changeling.

Since becoming a solid, Odo has been spending his off-duty time in Quark’s—he even now has a usual table—being supremely depressed about everything. Sisko approaches him while he waxes rhapsodic about the bubbles in ale to tell him that he wants Odo on the mission. Odo is less than enthused, but Sisko makes it clear that it’s an order.

Gowron has relocated Klingon military operations to Ty’Gokor, one of the most heavily fortified installations in the empire. Assuming they can infiltrate Ty’Gokor, they can set up polaron radiation emitters, which will destabilize a changeling. The problems are several: it’s a prototype that hasn’t been tested, so they don’t know if it’ll work; they can only use it for a few seconds or everyone in the room, changeling or humanoid, will die of radiation poisoning; and to get to Ty’Gokor they have to get through a tachyon detection grid, which makes going in the Defiant impossible, as the grid will detect the cloak, and get past his bodyguards, the Yan-Isleth.

Getting to Ty’Gokor is actually the easy part, because they know someone with a Klingon ship to borrow: Dukat, who’s still bapping around in his stolen Bird-of-Prey. Bashir has surgically altered Sisko, Odo, and O’Brien to look like Klingons (Worf, meanwhile, has let his hair down and shaved his beard). There’s an induction ceremony for the Order of the Bat’leth in a few days, and Gowron will preside over it. Dukat is creating new identities for the four of them to insert in the Klingon central net, and will also add their names to the rolls for induction. The ceremony is their best shot at exposing Gowron in front of bunches of Klingons.

Worf is giving a tutorial in how to be Klingon. Sisko’s getting the hang of it right quick, but Odo and O’Brien are having a lot more trouble. Dukat is hailed by another Bird-of-Prey, which he says happens all the time. However, the holofilter he uses for visual communications is on the fritz, so Dukat—rather than let Worf try to bluff their way out of it—destroys the ship. Sisko and the others are, to say the least, unhappy.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Apocalypse Rising

Back on the station, Jake stands in his and Nog’s old spot overlooking the Promenade, and he comments to Bashir that you can always tell how things are going on the station by how people move on the Promenade. If they walk slow, window shop and such, things are well. If they walk fast, things are bad—and they’re all walking real fast right now.

Dukat drops them off at Ty’Gokor. He has no intention of sticking around to extract them, especially with the holofilter down. Besides, if they succeed, they can get home on their own, because the war will be over, and if they fail, they’ll be dead.

They beam down and join the party in the Hall of Warriors. A hall full of Klingons are drinking, singing, eating, laughing, and head-butting. Worf explains that it’s an endurance test as much as it is a celebration. If you’re still conscious and clear-eyed after partying all night, you’re worthy of your award.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Apocalypse Rising

General Martok arrives at one point, which concerns the crew, as he knows them. But he walks right by them without giving any indication he knows them. Martok’s presence also means Gowron should be along shortly, so they start placing the polaron emitters at various spots around the hall. There are moments of tension when Martok almost recognizes O’Brien and Odo drops his emitter, where it’s picked up by another warrior who wants to know what it is. Odo panics, but Worf gets him out of it by saying, “You found it!” and declaring it to be a Vulcan toy for children that Odo’s Klingon persona salvaged during the battle at Archanis.

Then Gowron arrives and starts the ceremony. Martok calls off names of warriors who then come to the stage to be given their insignia indicating that they are members of the Order. Just as Sisko’s about to activate the emitters, his Klingon alter ego is called to the stage. While Gowron doesn’t recognize him, Martok does and clubs him with the hilt of his bat’leth. However, after they’re imprisoned, Martok speaks to them alone, and Sisko realizes that Martok has suspected that Gowron is a changeling for months. His behavior changed after the attack on Deep Space 9, he stopped listening to his generals, and their losses continued to mount.

Martok says the only way to be sure is to assassinate Gowron. Worf suggests that Martok challenge Gowron, but Martok says there will be no honorable combat—he’ll get Sisko and the others to the hall and they will kill him. However, while Martok lets Sisko, Worf, and O’Brien in, he stops Odo—he doesn’t know where the latter’s loyalties lie.

Worf immediately challenges Gowron and they duel. Sisko blasts one warrior who tries to intervene, and Gowron verbally stops another from doing so. This will be a duel between Klingons. Martok is confused as to why Sisko doesn’t just use his disruptor to kill Gowron—

—and that’s when Odo puts it all together. His people don’t care about honor, and Martok’s words that there would be no honorable combat are not those of a Klingon. Gowron isn’t the changeling—Martok is.

Just as Worf’s about to kill Gowron, Odo—while locked in physical combat with Martok—reveals that the changeling is Martok. The Martok changeling reveals himself, and then Sisko, followed by basically every Klingon in the joint, shoots him.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Apocalypse Rising

Gowron can’t agree to end the war right there—battle has begun, and it must be finished—but Odo reminds him that talking is just what the Dominion doesn’t want them to do. He will advise a temporary cease-fire to the High Council, and also grant them safe passage back to DS9. Gowron thanks Sisko for the service he has done the empire. When they return to the station, Bashir restores everyone’s faces—Sisko says that he won’t miss the ridges, but he does miss the fangs. Odo—who says he won’t miss the fangs at all—declines Bashir’s offer to make his face whatever he wants. He’s happy to go back to his own unformed face.

The Sisko is of Bajor: At one point, Sisko overhears a warrior standing in front of the bloodwine barrel, bragging about a Starfleet captain he killed—who was an Academy-mate of Sisko’s. The captain beats the crap out of him, and then covers it with, “Brag all you want! But don’t stand between me and the bloodwine!” He also mentions that he was the captain of the Academy wrestling team—and then adds, while clutching his right arm, “twenty-two years ago. Ow!”

Don’t ask my opinion next time: Kira has an amusing scene where she blames Bashir for her pregnancy, which is an entertaining in-joke, since Nana Visitor’s real-life pregnancy was fathered by Alexander Siddig. She also tweaks Dukat with regard to who the father of the baby she’s carrying is.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Apocalypse Rising

The slug in your belly: From a story perspective, Dax would’ve been a good choice to go on the mission, but from a real-world perspective, Terry Farrell is allergic to the prosthetics. That was why they changed the Trill makeup from what it was in “The Host” to the spots, to accommodate Farrell’s allergy.

Preservation of mass and energy is for wimps: Odo being kicked out of the Great Link has affected his personality, and also his day-to-day existence. He at first thought the process of ingesting food and drink to be disgusting, but he’s gotten used to it, and when Sisko finds him at Quark’s during happy hour, he looks like he’s enjoying drinking a little too much.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Apocalypse Rising

There is no honor in being pummeled: Worf actually does very well here, training Odo and O’Brien and Sisko in how to be Klingon—at which he’s very successful, as they all do well once the ceremony starts—and getting Odo’s polaron emitter back. One wishes Dukat had let him bluff their way out of the Bird-of-Prey encounter. And, in the end, he defeats Gowron, and only doesn’t kill him because Odo reveals the Martok changeling.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Apocalypse Rising

Rules of Acquisition: When Sisko goes to Quark’s to find Odo, he asks if the captain is there for happy hour. “Do I look happy, Quark?” Sisko asks tartly, but Quark points out that none of the happy people in the bar were happy when they walked in. He’s making it his responsibility to make sure that, in these dark times of Klingon wars and Dominion threats, his bar is an oasis of happiness. (Presumably, with his being declared persona non grata by the FCA, he’s jumping with both feet into the community leader role Sisko blackmailed him into back in “Emissary.”)

For Cardassia! Damar derides the plan as foolish, and thinks they should just bombard Ty’Gokor from orbit. Odo and O’Brien point out that that plan is at least as foolhardy, as the shields on the base can withstand a lot more than one ship can dish out.

Victory is life: The Dominion’s plan was to pretend to hide the “fact” that Gowron is a changeling from Odo in the Great Link in order to get Starfleet to try to assassinate Gowron and deepen the animosity between the two powers, thus paving the way for a Dominion invasion. The plan only doesn’t work because Odo figures out that Martok is the changeling, not Gowron.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Apocalypse Rising

Tough little ship: Worf wants to take the Defiant out to search for Sisko and Dax when they’re running late, but Kira won’t let him. He comes within a hairsbreadth of defying her and taking the Defiant anyhow—since he is in command of the ship in Sisko’s absence, while Kira’s in charge of the station—but Kira reminds him that Sisko’s actual orders were for the Defiant to protect the station. When Sisko and Dax arrive, Worf apologizes by doing Kira the courtesy of asking her permission to welcome the pair aboard.

Keep your ears open: “I hope I can remember how to set this thing up.”

“If that is a joke, I am not amused.”

“It’s not easy to be funny wearing these teeth.”

O’Brien trying to lighten the mood for an unwilling Worf.

Welcome aboard: J.G. Hertzler is back as what turns out to have been the changeling impersonating Martok. He’ll be back as the real Martok in “By Inferno’s Light.” Casey Biggs establishes himself as recurring with his return as Damar, and Marc Alaimo and Robert O’Reilly are back as Dukat and Gowron.

Trivial matters: Gowron’s promise that Worf won’t get another chance to kill him will prove to be false, as they will duel again in “Tacking Into the Wind.”

Your humble rewatcher provided the background of the Order of the Bat’leth in the novel A Good Day to Die: that the Lady Lukara, Kahless’s mate, created the Order after Kahless’s ascension to Sto-Vo-Kor to make sure that Kahless’s teachings would still be followed in the absence of the presence of Kahless. As the centuries passed, the Order became more ceremonial, as we see it in this episode. Part of the plot of A Good Day to Die and its followup Honor Bound is the Order returning to its original function. We also see the induction ceremony at the beginning of A Good Day to Die, and when Klag puts out a call to members of the Order in Honor Bound, we see the responses of H’Ta, T’Vis, and Huss, the three inductees from this episode. Huss also appears in your humble rewatcher’s A Singular Destiny. Other Order inductees seen in those two novels include Klag (from TNG’s “A Matter of Honor”), K’Vada (from TNG’s “Unificationtwo-parter), and Worf, who is inducted in A Good Day to Die.

Ty’Gokor will be seen again in the Enterprise episode “Judgment.” After the Borg invasion in the Destiny trilogy by David Mack devastates Qo’noS, Martok temporarily moves the seat of the Klingon Empire to Ty’Gokor in A Singular Destiny.

Sisko’s past as captain of the Federation wrestling team will come up again, most notably in “Take Me Out to the Holosuite.”

Michael Dorn was looking forward to his co-stars enduring what he endured every day with Klingon makeup, but while it was no big deal for Rene Auberjonois, and while Avery Brooks was apparently okay with it, Colm Meaney spent the entire time filming complaining about the prosthetics, to the point where Dorn specifically petitioned the producers to never put Meaney in prosthetics ever again.

The last time Auberjonois appeared in Klingon makeup, it was also a disguise: in Star Trek VI, his Colonel West disguised himself as a Klingon who tried to assassinate Azetbur.

Vilix’pran has apparently been promoted to lieutenant since “Heart of Stone” and is budding again.

Walk with the Prophets: “What’s the matter, Dukat—haven’t you ever seen a Klingon before?” A solid season opener that once again sets the status quo on fire, and includes a very nice twist. The notion of Gowron being a changeling is one that’s actually fun to deal with because he’s a character we’ve known for years now on two shows, going all the way back to “Reunion” on TNG. But it’s something we can believe given his aggressive posture in “Broken Link” of invading Archanis.

So the twist we get that it’s Martok is brilliant, especially because of how well the changeling (and J.G. Hertzler) sells Martok’s “suspicions” that Gowron is a changeling.

Odo’s figuring it out is a slightly problematic bit of writing, as half of it makes sense. Martok has the same contempt for Odo that we saw in the changeling disguised as Admiral Leyton in “Paradise Lost,” notably when he keeps Odo out of the hall.

But while that’s enough to arouse Odo’s suspicions—and also drag him out of the funk he’s been in all episode, rambling about bubbles, dropping emitters, and so on—what clinches it is the Martok changeling’s lack of understanding of pretty basic concepts of honor.

Except this makes no sense. The Founders have proven to be superb at disguises. O’Brien, Sisko, and Odo are able to pass as Klingons after just a few days of tutoring from Worf on Dukat’s ship. Why can’t the Martok changeling, who’s been in the role for years, understand something so incredibly basic to the Klingon culture as an honorable duel?

Getting there, however, has been tremendous fun. The tension over the war with the Klingons is palpable in the teaser, as well as the interlude with Jake and Bashir back at the station (that scene serves as a nice prelude to “Nor the Battle to the Strong”), and you can feel the urgency and desperation of Sisko’s mission. It’s actually a pretty good plan, and it’s tremendous fun to see our heroes as disguised Klingons. I especially adore how each character responds to being a Klingon: Odo is terrible at it, mostly because he’s already in pretty poor shape from his depression over the Founders’ judgment; O’Brien is uncomfortable, but manages well enough (particularly his bluff against Martok); and Sisko jumps in with both feet, making himself into a fantastic Klingon.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Apocalypse Rising

Even with the not-entirely-convincing ending, though, this is a fun episode with tension and stakes and head-butting and other family values. It also gives Odo a chance to get his mojo back. The early scene of him staring at bubbles in Quark’s is heartbreaking, and he doesn’t get any better despite two different pep talks from Sisko. What brings him out of it, of course, is a puzzle to solve. Like any good detective, he thrives on seeking out the truth, and he finds it when the Martok changeling gives him clues.

But what’s best about this episode is that Dukat was wrong. He said that if the mission was successful the war would be over, and it isn’t. Gowron can’t just stop the war with a snap of his fingers, and it’s clear that he doesn’t entirely want to, either. No, this is just the first step to peace, and it’s going to take a lot more to make the Federation and the Klingons allies again...

 

Warp factor rating: 7


Keith R.A. DeCandido reminds everyone that his latest Star Trek book The Klingon Art of War officially goes on sale on the 6th of May, and it’s already started showing up in some bookstores. You can also order the book online from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indie Bound, or directly from the publisher. He’s talked about the book on the podcasts Trek Radio, the G & T Show, and SciFi Diner. He’ll be doing three signings for the book in May: at Singularity & Co. in Brooklyn, New York on Friday the 9th, at Pandemonium Books in Cambridge, Massachusetts on Thursday the 15th, and at the Enigma Bookstore in Queens, New York on Saturday the 17th.

56 comments
DougL
1. DougL
It was a good story, and yes DS9 is fantastic for this very reason, it related to the themes and mythology of the show in ways that even Voyager never really managed; continuity.
DougL
2. Rancho Unicorno
I enjoyed this episode, but had one issue with Sisko's Klingon - it felt like he was portraying a stereotypical Klingon rather than a believable Klingon.

As for why the Martok!changling would make a mistake like "no honorable combat," I would chalk that up to anticipation. He had been biding his time for so long, and all their plans regarding the Klingon-Federation war were about to come to a head, that he got antsy. He's so close, he doesn't want to lose this moment. And that means making sure the kill happens, by any means necessary. People do it all the time - we wait with so much grace and understanding, and then get riled up because we can't handle waiting just a few more .
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
3. Lisamarie
Thank you for bringing up that Terry Ferrell was allergic to the prosthetics, because I was wondering why she wasn't on the mission. I can see why Worf and O'Brien would be (Klingon and technical expertise) but it seems like Dax (both Klingon AND technical knowledge) would be the much more logical choice, instead of Odo (who's already a bit of a flight risk!). She probably would have enjoyed it quite a bit too!

It was fun to see his nose a bit though - I completely did not recognize him because his face was so different and it took me a bit to figure out why.

Also, I was totally gratified to see my theory that Gowron was a big misdirect was right :)
DougL
4. DougL
@2. Rancho Unicorno

I kind of chuckled at your comment about Sisko, not because you are wrong, but because I tried to imagine what I would act like if someone sent me on a mission to, let's say China. I mean, I've read a lot about China, and I have even had, very Canadian, Chinese friends; but if I had to go there and impersonate a Chinese man, what do you have to fall back on but stereotypes? Fortunately for Sisko, most Klingons are also stereotypes, so while it wouldn't work in China, it does work with Klingons.
DougL
5. Eduardo Jencarelli
This season opener was one hell of a ride. TNG usually fumbled their season openers (Best of Both Worlds 2 being the exception). DS9 pretty much always nailed them.

I've always wondered as to when exactly was Martok replaced by a Changeling. Obviously, it happened prior to season 4, as the real one didn't really get to know Worf until the Purgatory/Inferno two-parter.

I've always wished Ira had done a special DS9 episode, focused entirely on the changelings which replaced the specific people throughout the series. It could play as an anthology of short stories, telling the story from their point of view. One story for each act. It would end up something like this:

Act one: Kira Nerys.
Act two: Colonel Lovok.
Act three: Martok.
Act four: the Defiant changeling.
Act five: Julian Bashir.
DougL
6. James2
I still love the irony of Gowron and the other Klingons trumpeting Changeling subertfuge as the basis for the Cardassian invasion -- and then it turns out one of the Chancellor's key advisors has been a Founder all along.

Heh, oops.
Brian Haughwout
7. bhaughwout
I actually liked the idea of Sisko as "Stereotypical Macho Klingon." In another situation, it would have stuck out like a sore thumb, but it totally worked in what was basically Kahless Pledge Week.

I can actually see why the Founders would have more trouble with the Klingons' code of honor than the Humans' sense of politics. As much as Roddenbery always made mankind out to be so enlightened in the 24th century, TNG and in particular DS9 showed that humanity actually remained highly mercurial -- with the Klingons surprisingly tempered (which is why Gowron's rule was so controversial). The Founders, for all their rules dictated to everyone, are a race with minds as slippery as their bodies: the flux of Starfleet politics is more easily replicated than the thousand-year old convoluted behavior codes of the Klingon Empire.
DougL
8. Alright Then
One wishes Dukat had let him bluff their way out of the Bird-of-Prey encounter.

I don't know. I found Dukat's diplomacy entertaining to watch, if a bit short. And Damar's smile. Yeah. Cardassian's smiling at explosions. It's a glorious and creepy thing to behold.
Cain Latrani
9. CainS.Latrani
I always took it that the Martok Changeling was playing on the casts lack of understanding, rather than revealing his own. Except for Worf, none of them are Klingons, and only had a couple days to get into character. As for Worf, he's not really that Klingon.

It always struck me he was playing to their lack of understanding in an attempt to get them to go along. In this sense, Dax not being there worked in his favor, as she would have known. Work may have suspected, but typical Worf, he was too focused on the mission to really think about it.

That, and he kind of had an axe to grind with Gowron anyway, something else the Changling played to rather nicely.
Nathan Martin
10. lerris
"Martok is confused as to why Sisko doesn’t just use his disruptor to kill Gowron—"

The changeling understands Klingon honor just fine. Human honor is another matter. The mission was based on the premise that humans would react to Gowron's changeling identity with a dishonorable assassination, yet these humans upheld a Klingon code of honor. Meanwhile, Martok was speaking to another changeling... for a race that cannot conceive of a changeling harming another, even with Odo's exile status, it's not surprising that the changeling let its guard down.
David Levinson
11. DemetriosX
I came to say pretty much what @9 and @10 did. The Martok!changeling's failure isn't a misreading of Klingons, it's a misreading of Starfleet. I can easily see changeling intelligence getting their info from some sources that tend to roll their eyes or sneer at Kilngon concepts and mores. This could lead Martok!changeling to think that sneering at Klingon honor would be the right way to go.

Sisko makes a great Klingon. (Of course, Avery Brooks plays it basically as Hawk with no subtletly.) It makes sense that he would fall into the role more easily, since he probably heard tons of stories from Curzon. His little act of revenge for a fallen friend is brilliant. He's able to get in his licks without betratying his identity. The man would have been wasted as an engineer.
DougL
12. James2
@5, We learn during “In Purgatory’s Shadow” that Martok had been in Dominion captivity for 2 years.

So, he would have been taken around mid-Season 3. This would have been just before the Tal Shiar and Obsidian Order's Omarion Nebula debacle.

One thing I would have loved to see in the official literature was the reaction of Sirella, Drex, and the rest of Martok's family.

How did they react upon learning the General had been an imposter for nearly 2 years? Did any of them have suspicions?
DougL
13. Bobby Nash
This episode is a great kickoff to the season. I love it.

Bobby
Raymond Seavey
14. RaySea
The one thing I can never figure out: why did the Martok changeling expose himself with the tentacle things? After Odo yelled out and accused him, how hard would it be for him to just deny it? "Filthy Federation lies!" and all that. Odo didn't really have any proof, just a solid guess.
Christopher Bennett
15. ChristopherLBennett
It was kind of fun seeing the actors get to play dressup as Klingons. Though it's ironic that the first thing the writers do with Odo after removing his shapeshifting is to put him in disguise through surgery.

And you know, if they'd reintroduced the concept of 23rd-century-style, ridgeless Klingons earlier in the series, maybe Terry Farrell could've been made up as one of them.

The problem for me is that this is the point where DS9 becomes a war story and stays that way for the remainder of the series. I think the producers spent far too much time on the war stuff. If Star Trek were meant to be about war, they would've called it Star Wars. I wish they'd wrapped up the Dominion War at the end of season 6 and devoted season 7 to the rebuilding and aftermath, which is usually more interesting and important than the actual fighting itself.
DougL
16. lvsxy808
@ 5: Eduardo Jencarelli
I've always wished Ira had done a special DS9 episode, focused entirely on the changelings which replaced the specific people throughout the series. It could play as an anthology of short stories, telling the story from their point of view.
STORY IDEAS FOLLOWING - PRO AUTHORS LOOK AWAY NOW

Ooh, I like that idea. Looking at the timeline, the first four all got into place pretty much at the same time. The first one is the Female Founder replacing Kira in "Heart of Stone." Her stated motive for that was purely to check up on Odo, but maybe it gave her the idea for others to do the same.

From that point Martok, Lovok and Krajensky all seem to have taken their marks about the same time - mid Season 3. Note that that's barely six months after their first official contact with the UFP, and already they've got important influential people replaced in three of the four major galactic empires, and already f'in shizz up within twelve months.

(Makes you wonder why they didn't replace anybody on Cardassia. Maybe they did and we just didn't hear about it. Maybe fakeMartok wasn't lying - maybe the Founders really were secretly responsible for the overthrow of the Central Command.)

Then when all three of those had been exposed, they decided that such high-level replacements were too attention-grabbing and went for something smaller and more intimate - a mere doctor on a space station.
DougL
17. James2
@16, Yeah that's something I've always wondered.

Bashir cleared the Detapa Councilors when he did the blood screenings. But as we later learned, the Founders had ways of getting around and faking the tests.

So, it's possible the Founders were indeed at work on Cardassia during the coup. We'll never know and I think it was the right decision to leave it ambiguous on-screen.
DougL
18. McKay B
Agreed with @9-@11 -- I can only justify the Martok Founder's gross lack of understanding of how to play the role (after a year and a half) by assuming that his real misunderstanding was the Starfleet away team. In particular, his comment to Odo about just shooting Gowron may have been based on faulty assumptions that Odo would have no more concept of honor than other changelings.

That said, he was still a pretty terrible imposter. Especially the part where he confesses by shapeshifting, rather than simply denying Odo's accusations.

Still, this manages to be a great episode in spite of a few big faults. The characterization of the main characters is superb -- and Gowron, with his insults to Worf after Worf has just beaten him and spared him, crosses the line of no return into "villain" status, which is a great new source of tension.

Oh, and all the verbal sparring with Dukat (yet working more or less with him) is great too.

@16-@17: Yeah, it's only reasonable statistically to assume a number of changeling infiltrators never got caught. Including some "Cardassian" leaders, especially since that makes Gowron's and Dukat's storylines all the more dramatic.
David Levinson
19. DemetriosX
There's another factor to the Martok changeling's blunder which has occurred to me. He's been in deep cover for close to 2 years at this point. Presumably, he has been unable to link during most of that time and has certainly been excluded from the Great Link for that long. We have been told that this would place a lot of psychological stress on a changeling. Perhaps that explains his rash declaration of his true nature when confronted. "Yes! I am a changeling and I have had enough of being surrounded by you miserable solids! Behold my glory!" In other words, he snapped.
DougL
20. Alright Then
Also makes you wonder where and when the Martok changeling could rest, regenerate, whatever they call it. Oh, just ignore that bucket in the corner...

Must've had a do not disturb sign engraved in his door.
DougL
21. Lsana
@16,17,18,

My guess is that if the Changlings were making their move and choosing to replace people around mid Season 3, they probably made some inroads in the Obsidian Order and Cardassian millitary, since those were the powers at the time, and the overthrow caused all their replaced political leaders to beccome more or less worthless. In the exact opposite of what the Klingons believed, I think there's a good chance that the new civilian government may have prevented the Changlings from getting a foothold on Cardassia.

@20,

Would YOU want to be the one who disturbed the short-tempered Klingon general while he was napping? I suspect "Martok" didn't have all that much trouble getting some privacy.
Christopher Bennett
22. ChristopherLBennett
@19: Why are you assuming "Martok" was the only Changeling infiltrator in the Klingon Empire? There were three on Earth alone as of "Paradise Lost."
DougL
23. James2
@20, That's a good question.

I wonder if the Founders had already intended to use the Union as an AQ foothold at that point.

My gut sense is the answer's a yes. The CU was the closest regional power to the Wormhole. And Cardassia having to turn to the very people who crippled them in the first place was beautifully poetic -- and too well orchestrated.

So, if they had made that decision to occupy Cardassia, that's a good question: Did the coup screw up the timetable -- or did it play into their hands?
DougL
24. Alright Then
#21

Nope, I sure wouldn't want to be that guy, shapeshifter or not.

Though that would be one of the drawbacks of having Changeling infiltrators. They can't predict when they'll be needed as these people they're impersonating; emergencies happen. Sisko as a Klingon can simply fall asleep when he gets tired; whereas a Changeling has to worry about being discovered as a puddle of goo while it's catching some zees.
Christopher Bennett
25. ChristopherLBennett
@24: Do we really know that all Changelings need to regenerate on the same cycle Odo does? He's not as well-trained at shapeshifting as they are. Maybe they have techniques for postponing or minimizing regeneration time that Odo simply never learned.
David Levinson
26. DemetriosX
@22
I'm not necessarily assuming the Martok changeling was the only one, but there can't have been many. And I would think their opportunities for joining would be limited. There has to be a reason for two or more individuals to be alone together on a regular basis or it will arouse suspicion. I also suspect that the joining of individuals or even small groups does not provide quite the same level as the Great Link does.
DougL
27. Alright Then
#25

Isn't there an upcoming episode (SPOILER ALERT) where a Changeling dies because it has to hold its shape too long, over whatever limit they can take? You know, the one with the downed ship... which is called "The Ship," I think.

(Moderator note: spoiler whited out)
DougL
28. elijahzg
@25 I seem to recall it was stated, either on the show itself or in one of the novels, that Odo's need to regenerate is specific to his inexperience with shapeshifting.

I imagine that there must be an enormous amount of infiltrators in the varoius AQ governments, but it is also possible that the Founders intended to create that sense of paranoia. I never particularly liked major characters being replaced for extended periods of time by changelings though, especially later with (SPOILER) Bashir. I know that "to know a thing is to become a thing", but it would seem that someone would have figured out Martok, especially his (quite intimidating) wife, or the ever watchful Gowron.

Still, it was so fun to see the regular actors as Klingons, and I will never complain about a Klingon-centric episode.

By the way, does anyone know why the episode wasn't set on Qo'nos?
Christopher Bennett
29. ChristopherLBennett
@28: I don't know why they didn't use Qo'noS, but maybe they just wanted to expand the empire some, get away from the tendency to portray the entire civilization as just one city on one planet.
DougL
30. Eoin8472
So, Sisko, hows that plan for actually doing something useful and maybe trying a token attempt at examining incoming ships from the wormhole for Changeling infiltrators working out? A single Changeling has helped set the Klingons against both the Federation and the Cardassians after all? No? Still want a wide open gate to the AQ? Even now?
Tick-Tock.
Christopher Bennett
31. ChristopherLBennett
@30: That's ridiculous. Just because a security system is imperfect, it doesn't follow that it's nonexistent. You're accusing Starfleet of being incompetent at their job, but the takeaway should be the reverse: that the Founders are just very, very good at what they do. After all, the Dominion is maybe ten times older than the Federation, at least. They've been at this game far, far longer than Starfleet has. So even with everyone in Starfleet making the best effort they're capable of, they're still outmatched.
Dante Hopkins
32. DanteHopkins
Good to be caught up again. I agree that the Martok changeling revealed itself because of having grown tired of impersonating a solid, but also, and more important,its very obvious contempt for Odo. Also, as CLB points out, I also thought that the Changeling impostors didn't have to regenerate the way Odo did. Its never made clear if they do need to regenerate at all, but its made very clear that the Founders are better shapeshifters than Odo.
Dante Hopkins
33. DanteHopkins
@30, putting armed security and inspections at every port would instill the kind of paranoia the Founders want. To do that would not only play into their hands, it also wouldn't work. As CLB says, no method of detection is infallible, and that kind of overkill wouldn't work for anyone except the Dominion.
DougL
34. elijahzg
@30 First, the twin episodes set on Earth in season 4 were clear about why Starfleet doesn't go crazily paranoid over this. Second, as the Female Changeling established, the Founders have known about the existence of the AQ and the wormhole for longer than the Federation. We know they sent Odo, Laas, and others into the AQ, and knowing the paranoia and extreme long term planning of the Dominion, I wouldn't be surprised if they had been covertly sending infiltrators through the wormhole for years.
Christopher Bennett
35. ChristopherLBennett
@34: Actually the Founders didn't deliberately send the Hundred through the wormhole. They sent them out throughout the galaxy, expecting them to take centuries to wend their way back, but Odo fell through the wormhole by accident.

I doubt very much that the Dominion knew about the wormhole until after explorers and traders from the AQ started making contact with Dominion subjects like the Hunters and the Karemma. If they'd known about it earlier, they would've struck much earlier. To see a version of what might have happened if the Dominion had discovered the wormhole before the Federation did, read Keith's A Gutted World in Myriad Universes: Echoes and Refractions.
DougL
36. Eoin8472
@31
Think about that fact that they have had 2 years to at leat grasp the concept of securing the one entrance point to an entire quadrant. And have failed miserably to understand it. Star gate Sg1 did it after their very first episode. Think about this in relation to the incoiming Bashier changeling infiltration. And how costly it becomes. Incompetance on a massive scale. Suddenly Voyager doesn't loke so bad, does it? 2 Wars, and they have still not thought that just maybe thing should change?

@32
A choke point. Basic physics. Think about it.

@34
Because, AGAIN, Starfleet is incompetant. The problem is at the wormhole, NOT at a world half a qudrant away.

"Second, as the Female Changeling established, the Founders have known about the existence of the AQ and the wormhole for longer than the Federation.
So what, block the wormhole, threat over.

We know they sent Odo, Laas, and others into the AQ, and knowing the paranoia and extreme long term planning of the Dominion, I wouldn't be surprised if they had been covertly sending infiltrators through the wormhole for years. "
Who cares? If Starfleet and /Sisko have half a brain between them, this probelm would have been handled. Heres a hint, look at a map!

I hope people remember the previous Starfleet (in)actions when In the Pale Moonlight comes along. And the tepid excuses that will be uttered for Sisko's when the simplest possible actions would have stopped the entire war. A rewatch has to discuss this. Sisko and the Federation are bloody (literrally!) morons. But doen't worry, I will come back to this...again...and again...again. (How many chances did Sisko have to stop 800 million deaths? Really?)

(Note: message edited by moderator. It's fine to disagree with others, but please be civil.)
DougL
37. Eoin8472
pisode.
Think about this in relation to the incoiming Bashier changeling infiltration. And how costly it becomes. Incompetance on a massive scale. Suddenly Voyager doesn't look so bad, does it?
@33
Garbage as I said. A choke point. Basic physics. Think about it.

34. elijahzg
Sunday May 04, 2014 09:15pm EDT
@30 First, the twin episodes set on Earth in season 4 were clear about why Starfleet doesn't go crazily paranoid over this.
Because, AGAIN, Starfleet is incompetant. The problem is at the wormhole, NOT at a world half a qudrant away.

"Second, as the Female Changeling established, the Founders have known about the existence of the AQ and the wormhole for longer than the Federation.
So what, block the wormhole, threat over.

We know they sent Odo, Laas, and others into the AQ, and knowing the paranoia and extreme long term planning of the Dominion, I wouldn't be surprised if they had been covertly sending infiltrators through the wormhole for years. "
Who cares? If Starfleet and /Sisko have half a brain between them, this probelm would have been handled. Heres a hint, look at a map!
DougL
38. elijahzg
@35 I'll be sure to check that out!
DougL
39. elijahzg
@37 The reason the Federation won't block the wormhole permanently without immediate need to do so (e.g. when Sisko is forced to threaten to do so on multiple occasions) is that Starfleet and the Federation are committed to open engagement and discovery. To them, having a new border is an opportunity, not a threat. That optimism characterizes the Star Trek mentality, and although DS9 will get a little more deep into the military aspects of Starfleet, the first mission of Starfleet is to seek out new life and new civilizations. Blocking off access to 1/4 of the galaxy would be an unprecedented violation of that.

All of this, by the way, assumes that Starfleet could legally do so. The wormhole is in Bajoran space, and the Bajorans wouldn't take kindly to having their Celestial Temple being shut down, foreign danger or not.
DougL
40. Eoin8472
But we don't even have to block off the wormhole pernamently and annoy the Bajorians. The beauty of my previous ideas is that it doesn't have to be pernament. Inspections of every incoming ship for infiltrators (never thought of by the crew. Hey maybe those phase sweeps that we know work from The Way of the Warrior on every ship interior might be useful?), surrounding the wormhole with gun platforms/mines that DON'T have to be set on fire/explode mode (never thought of by the crew).

2 years in, 2 wars in. And the Federation is still in "head in sand mode"
You can have peaceful exploration and security (though its obviously not as beneficial as blocking the wormhole), by just applying some common sense to the massive advantage of having only a single entrance point to the quadrant. Its utterly indefensible what Sisko is failing to do.
DougL
41. Noblehunter
There's no way to have mines in "safe" mode. Especially, IRRC, if they are anti-matter mines. I don't think the Bajorans would let anyone put automated weapons platforms anywhere near the wormhole. Too high a risk of an "accidental" misfire taking out the Celestial Temple.

Inspecting every ship coming out of the wormhole would be pure security theatre. If nothing else, just set up a smuggling ring. The smugglers are hardly going to let Starfleet inspect their illicit goods for changelings.
Andy Holman
42. AndyHolman
Nice to hear why Dax wasn't included on this mission. It always just read to me as part of the sidelining of her character that seemed to take place over her last couple seasons. It's a shame they couldn't figure out a workaround for the prosthetic allergy. Nowadays they'd probably do some kind of CGI motion-capture or something.

-Andy
Christopher Bennett
43. ChristopherLBennett
It is astonishing to me that the suggestion of mining the wormhole is still being brought up. I've pointed out before that it would essentially be a war crime. Any attempt to argue in favor of greater security on the wormhole loses every trace of credibility when this hideously unethical suggestion of mines is thrown in.
DougL
44. Eduardo Jencarelli
16. lvsxy808

Then when all three of those had been exposed, they decided that such high-level replacements were too attention-grabbing and went for something smaller and more intimate - a mere doctor on a space station.

Interestingly put, but it's worth remembering that Starfleet rules specify that Doctors can give a Captain orders to stand down, if they find the Captain to be somehow incapable of doing his/her duty.

I don't know how a Changeling would exploit this loophole to his advantage, but it's an interesting scenario nonetheless.
DougL
45. Eduardo Jencarelli
Truth be told, the Dominion were miles ahead of the Alpha Quadrant, in terms of staging an invasion and infiltrating the highest levels of the major powers.

They did have one weakness though: their complete trust on renegade changelings like Odo, which would bite them later in the series, thanks to SPOILER entities like Section 31.
DougL
46. Eoin8472
Alright @41, @43 if we don't want to do the mine argument again (even though its exactly what Sisko ended up doing, ethics be damned) what about laying a swarmed cloud of some sort of remote turrets to fire upon any hostile force immediately? And I know the inspection idea isn't great, but its orders of magnitude better then just doing nothing. (Or the questionable intellectual idea of staging a military takeover on Earth.....half a quadrant away from where the problem is originating from. Does anyone actually read maps in Ds9?)

Does anyone have any suggestion of enhancing the hilariously inept security of the wormhole? The characters know that changelings are causing wars in the AQ. And they do nothing. It boggles the mind. It really does. Everyone has pointed out flaws in my suggestions, so I ask what does everyone else think the Ds9 characters do (aside from carryong on doing what they are doing, which is obviously, blatantly not working). Instead of just shooting down my ideas without a coounter-proposal, lets have one.
DougL
47. Noblehunter
Remote turrets would have one of the same problem as mines: easy accidents blowing up civies. It also doesn't address the Bajor's presumed concerns about the turrets being re-purposed into shutting the wormhole. Inspections might provide more reassurance than security; which would let infiltrators move more freely, so maybe not better than nothing.

I can't of any measure that would be effective besides convincing Bajor to interdict all Gamma quadrant goods and people. Ships could still come and go but not take on people or cargo. But that wouldn't be easy since trade through the wormhole is critical to Bajor's future and there's not really much the Federation could offer in exchange.
DougL
48. elijahzg
CLB- excellent point about mining being a war crime. There are many conflict zones here on Earth where landmines have severely hurt civilian populations and years later, hundreds of people are still hurt by exploding landmines. Mines are so horrific that there's an entire treaty (The Ottawa Treaty) designed to ban them, and many excellent charities exist solely to remove them. Mines hurt civilians most of all, both in real life and in SF.
DougL
50. James2
@15, The problem for me is that this is the point where DS9 becomes a war story and stays that way for the remainder of the series. I think the producers spent far too much time on the war stuff. If Star Trek were meant to be about war, they would've called it Star Wars. I wish they'd wrapped up the Dominion War at the end of season 6 and devoted season 7 to the rebuilding and aftermath, which is usually more interesting and important than the actual fighting itself.

Yeah, part of me still wishes that the War had been wrapped up earlier -- though the launch of the DS9 continuation novels remeddied this problem. :)

VOY missed a huge opportunity when they re-established regular contract with Starfleet during its closing years. I'd have loved to have seen the former Maquis' reactions to the Cardassians' ultimate fate.

As to the War itself...Narrative-wise, I still think the Dominion arc is the franchise's greatest achivement. It's a story spanning 70+ episodes over a 7-year period and was unlike anything the franchise had ever done (or has done since).

I also still think it's Trek's best example of space opera with a rich, complex plot that took all this backstory and all these elements built up over 30 years and created some damm good storytelling.

Noq, I agree the point of ''Trek'' isn't war or long-term conflict. But the DW was a great tool for testing whether the franchise's central themes could survive prolongsed conflict like this. And ultimately, in spite of all the war crimes, butchery, and genocide to come, those ideals were still crucial to the climax and resolution of the War.
Christopher Bennett
51. ChristopherLBennett
@46: Sisko ends up mining the wormhole as a last resort to block an invasion force -- NOT as a first resort for routine security! That's the crucial distinction you keep failing to take into consideration. The context matters. You don't declare martial law to direct traffic. There are times when the danger is so extreme that some ethical compromises may be necessary, but you don't rush to throw your ethics out the window, let alone jeopardize the public's safety, as a matter of everyday convenience.
DougL
52. Eoin8472
@47
I would argue that Bajor should seriously think about interdicting all Gamma Quadrant traffic at this stage, as communication with the Dominion has obviously failed.
@51
Many innocent people have now died in the Klingon/Cardassian war and the now raging Klingon/Federation war. Its not at the routine security stage any more. Far from it. Do you have any practical suggestions as to what the crew should do?
Brendan Guy
53. bguy
@40: Do we know that Starfleet isn't inspecting ships coming through the wormhole? IIRC in "Starship Down" one of the Kamerra's complaints about trading with the Federation was the surcharge they were having to pay to cover the costs of searching their ships for Changelings. The surcharge itself was one of Quark's scams, but I don't think the Kamerra would have paid it as long as they did if the Feds hadn't been searching their ships for real. (The surcharge would have been an obvious fake if there hadn't been real searches involved.)

Most likely ship searches areroutinely happening, they just aren't succeeding at catching any Changelings which is why we never see any of the searches.
DougL
54. Eoin8472
@53
Good point on Starship Down, but its debatable and not 100% clear to me as to whether the inspections are actually happening, or where just a part of Quark's scam. From looking at the script, I can't easily tell. I dislike using the absence of evidance moniker but that may cover this. Ship inspections are not mentioned on any other episodes to my knowledge. If they ARE happening, then great, my impression of the Ds9 crew intellectual acumen has increased. (Though Quark/The Ferengi could have just been hiring out local contacts to perform the "inspections" after all, so just doing it for appearances sake. We don't know.)
Charles Olney
55. CharlesO
Why doesn’t Sisko just set off the device when he has the chance? His name gets called...so what? It would upset the gravitas of the honor-conferring? Is there an explanation for this?
Stefan Raets
56. Stefan
I will never be able to look at Odo again without thinking of Don Ho singing "Tiny Bubbles" - http://youtu.be/mlCiDEXuxxA

Also - that scene between Bashir and Kira would have made NO sense to me without this reread - so thank you, krad! (I'm almost caught up... )
DougL
57. ChangelingTomalok
@3 Ditto. I would have loved to see Terry Ferrell as a Klingon, and wondered why she didnt go on the mission since she knows most about Klingons second to worf(although through Dax she has arguably more direct experience with Klingons). I was unaware she was allergic to prosthesis. I would have done whatever necessary to get her into the Klingon costume just for the moment of Worf joking(a rare exception in this case) on how good she looks as a Klingon and that maybe she should stay that way lol

@4 Especially when the Chin..erm Klingons are drunk off their butts at a endurance celebratory event(which is pretty standard fare for Klingons relaxing) gulping down bloodwine by the pint for hours on end. Its funny how in actuality Worf has a personality that would stand out in that environment(just edging out Odo) more that Sisko did. Even O'Brien could have(and should have) gone into Irish pub mode and had a blast even though he did loosen up after a while.

@6 It is indeed ironic in a humorous way. Although through the filter of Klingon logic it doesnt matter one way or another since the empire got to let of a bit of steam by going to war for a little while(other than against other Klingons) to ease the nerves of the sabre rattlers on the coucil and in the populace.

@7 I agree. I though Gowron was a very impressive character until he sudden and random irrational grudge he develops later on in the series.

@11 I think Avery would have been a great Klingon if he played the role for as long as worf had. I could easily have seen him as a Klingon high governor or something. Hostile yet tempered with wisdom and responsibility of leadership(more of what the Klingon species needs as a whole)

@12 Probably not. Remember that other than being a generic general who became recognized because he was very good at his job Martok was a nobody(a peasant) and just a soldier. Any inconsistencies could have been waved away with Klingon “I do NOT want to TALK about this matter further” and would have been dropped unless he did something incompetent.

@15 I respectfully disagree. We have season upon season of ST during peacetime and only vaguely hear about what it is like for the Federation to be at war. This arc gave us insight into the real burden of wearing the Starfleet uniform and reminds you that they are called upon to not only be explorers and diplomats in times of peace but these same morally upright individuals are called to be soldiers at the front in times of War. It explores the casts minds and hearts as they deal with the struggle of war and that is something that was never done in ST before and why it was so profound and added to the universe.

@16 I believe they had a way around the screening but ONLY if they remained in quasi humanoid form. Or at least a form capable of transporting produced blood. They also would have had to revert back to human form within a certain time frame lest the blood spoil and thus be easily discernible as non oxygenated dead blood. I always wondered why they stopped at simply extracting the blood and did not run quick tests on the quality and genetic structure of the blood on starfleet officers since their medical and DNA information are on record to cross reference.

@25. I agree Odo simply sucks at shapeshifting and does not have the benefit of the “how to” history of the Link. Plus he is relatively young compared to the others so maturity may also play a factor in regeneration. As with humans and many other species our young require far more rest than an adult to maintain proper function since they are still developing.

@39 Essentially Starfleet does really stupid things for the sake of moral superiority. No one needed to completely block the wormhole but at the same time when you encounter a vast empire that makes it plainly clear they are going to try to invade and conquer you at some point it is your responsibility to protect your citizens from that. They could have arranged Orbital weapons platforms similar to ones seen later a cylinder formation so that all hostile and unauthorized ships would pretty much have to go through a hail storm of weapons fire to get through the wormhole. All friendly ships would be affected an exploration could have resumed as normal. Spoiler(whited out): Im sure Starfleet weapons platforms wouldnt be nearly as easily fooled as the Cardassian models and probably would require command level authorization before they would be allowed to open fire on anything. Especially since DS9 is right there able to tell them exactly what to fire at and what not to(fire control primarily linked to DS9 computers with autonomous fire control only being a command authorized backup system) I would keep their shields up at all times though for security purposes. I dont really understand why there isnt always a decentralized transport dampening field running so no one can use transporters within range of DS9 unless OPS turns it off to allow it.

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