“Tears of the Prophets”
Written by Ira Steven Behr & Hans Beimler
Directed by Allan Kroeker
Season 6, Episode 26
Production episode 40510-550
Original air date: June 17, 1998
Station log: Another Gratitude Festival has come to an end. Sisko insisted that the festival go on despite the war. And after the festival, Ross presents him with the Christopher Pike Medal of Honor, and then tells him that Starfleet has agreed (finally) to go on the offensive, and has ordered Sisko to come up with a plan to invade Cardassian space.
Worf and Dax leave the holodeck carrying weapons, but are neither sweaty nor bruised. Turns out they were talking about having a baby. Bashir and Quark are stunned and depressed, though they cover it with medical concerns over a Trill and a Klingon procreating (Bashir) and just generally being snotty (Quark).
Sisko has found the weak link in the Dominion’s defenses—the least well-defended system in Cardassian space is the Chin’toka system. That’s where they need to attack—assuming they can convince the Romulans to join the Federation and Klingon forces.
Damar, meanwhile, shows Weyoun the spiffy new orbital weapons platforms that he has deployed to shore up the forces in Chin’toka, since he had to divert forces to the Romulan front. Their conversation is interrupted by the surprise arrival of Dukat. He claims to have an artifact that will allow Dominion ships safe passage through the wormhole again—his interest is in taking revenge against Sisko, but it will also give Weyoun what he wants, too. The artifact allows Dukat to be possessed by a Pah-wraith.
In the wardroom, Sisko, Martok, Worf, and Ross have to convince Romulan Senator Letant to commit Romulan forces to striking the Chin’toka system. Along the way, Letant takes several shots at Martok, and Martok’s more than happy to take the bait.
Jake talks Sisko into letting him go on the Defiant to report on the battle for the Federation News Service. Sisko then gets a vision from the Prophets, telling him that he should not leave Bajor. Sisko talks to Ross about it, and the admiral gives him an ultimatum: he’s got to be either the Emissary or a Starfleet captain. He chooses the latter.
Starfleet Intelligence passes on info about Damar’s weapons platforms and that they have to attack in the next two or three days before they’re operational. The Romulans agree to join the war effort, and they’re leaving first thing in the morning. Meanwhile, Damar has received word of the combined fleet gathering at DS9 and pushes for the platforms to become operational sooner.
Sisko leaves Dax in charge of the station as the task force goes out because she can’t stay behind to get killed if she goes on the Defiant. (Seriously, she always goes with the Defiant. This is very obvious.) The fleet heads to Chin’toka, and the platforms aren’t online yet (Weyoun is seriously disappointed). However, after the battle is joined, the platforms do eventually come online and start firing.
Bashir informs Dax that the enzymes he’s been injecting into her have been working and she and Worf can have a baby. Because we must leave no character-is-about-to-die cliché unturned. She goes to the Bajoran temple to thank the Prophets—Kira had prayed for her and Worf the previous night—and in mid-prayer, the Pah-wraith-possessed Dukat beams in and kills her, then opens the Orb. The Pah-wraith goes into the Orb, and moments later, the Orb goes dark and the wormhole shuts down completely. Dukat then beams out of the temple.
On the Defiant, Sisko stumbles at the moment the wormhole closes, and he loses focus. Kira takes command and orders the Defiant to destroy the platforms’ power source, which O’Brien has located on a moon. They can’t destroy it conventionally, but O’Brien is able to spoof the moon so that it appears to have a Starfleet warp engine. The platforms themselves then fire on the moon and destroy it, leaving them powerless and paving the way for the allies to take the Chin’toka system.
Weyoun is furious at Dukat, as the plan is a disaster from the Dominion perspective. Klingon ground troops are on Cardassian soil, and there’s no chance of reinforcements from the Gamma Quadrant with the wormhole closed. Dukat, though, thinks everything is hunky dory because he’s hurt the Bajorans and Sisko (his only two targets now) by cutting the Prophets off from the Alpha Quadrant.
The Defiant returns to DS9. Even as Worf runs to the infirmary, several Bajorans swamp Sisko, wanting to know why the Orbs have gone dark and why the Prophets have abandoned them.
Bashir has managed to save the Dax symbiont, which has to get back to Trill, but Jadzia is dying and there’s nothing Bashir can do. Worf and Sisko stand over her as she dies. Later, Sisko talks to her coffin. Curzon was Sisko’s mentor, but Jadzia was his friend. And he needs his friend, because the Prophets seem to have abandoned Bajor. He’s failed as the Emissary and he’s failed as a Starfleet captain—he should have listened to the Prophets. He needs to get away from the station and figure out how to make things right again.
The Siskos head to Earth for an indefinite leave. Kira goes into the office to see that Sisko has taken the baseball with him. He’s not sure if he’s coming back.
The season ends with Sisko sitting in the back of his father’s restaurant in New Orleans, cleaning clams.
Can’t we just reverse the polarity? O’Brien can make a moon seem like a Starfleet ship by doing something with the deflector. Because he’s just that awesome.
The Sisko is of Bajor: Sisko is told by the Prophets not to leave Bajor. He leaves Bajor. Bad shit happens.
Don’t ask my opnion next time: Kira takes command of the Defiant when Sisko becomes incapacitated by the Prophets, even though Worf is in charge of the Defiant, and has taken command in the past in these situations (“Starship Down,” for one). Kira does consult Worf on their course of action, though. She’s also left in charge of the station at the end of the episode when Sisko goes on his sabbatical.
The slug in your belly: Dax is inordinately happy with life, is planning to have a baby with Worf, declares Bashir to be a good friend, and even goes to a temple to pray out of gratitude for how good her life is going. Of course she’s killed…
There is no honor in being pummeled: This is the second time Worf has cradled the love of his life’s corpse and done the Klingon death scream—the previous time was with K’Ehleyr in TNG’s “Reunion.”
Preservation of mass and energy is for wimps: Odo mistakes Kira being pissed at him over his arresting Vedek Solis as her wanting to break up with him. Give him a break, he’s new to this whole relationship thing…
Rules of Acquisition: Quark’s biggest worry when it comes to Worf and Dax having a baby is that the child might look like its father. (Dax’s response is, “I hope she does!”)
Plain, simple: Garak goes on the Defiant, jumping at the opportunity to help liberate his home. He’s also the one who notices that the platforms don’t have their own power sources, which is what leads to eventual victory at Chin’toka.
Victory is life: Damar has been forced to divert troops to the Romulan front. This means the Jem’Hadar and Cardassian ships are spread a bit thin, giving the allies an opening in Chin’toka.
For Cardassia! One of the artifacts the Cardassians plundered from Bajor is a doofy little statue that has a Pah-wraith in it.
What happens on the holosuite stays on the holosuite: Quark and Bashir go to Vic’s to drown their sorrows. Fontaine sings “Here’s to the Losers,” and then gives them hilariously generic advice (which boils down to “move the hell on, already!”) that the two of them take as some kind of brilliant insight. It’s Quark’s first time at Vic’s, and he says he might come back.
No sex, please, we’re Starfleet: After Kira says she prayed to the Prophets for Dax and Worf to actually be able to procreate, Dax tells Worf that when he gets back from Chin’toka, they have a lot of work to do. Worf’s reply is that he doesn’t consider that to be work. Wah-HEY!
Keep your ears open: “Pah-wraiths and Prophets? All this talk of gods strikes me as nothing more than superstitious nonsense.”
“You believe that the Founders are gods, don’t you?”
“In what way?”
“The Founders are gods.”
Weyoun failing his saving roll versus comparative religions, and Damar calling him on it.
Welcome aboard: James Darren establishes himself as recurring by reappearing as Fontaine, joining fellow recurrers Marc Alaimo (Dukat), Casey Biggs (Damar), Jeffrey Combs (Weyoun), Aron Eisenberg (Nog), J.G. Hertzler (Martok), Barry Jenner (Ross), and Andrew J. Robinson (Garak). Plus we get David Birney being super-snotty as Letant.
Trivial matters: The title derives from the colloquial name for the Orbs, as established way back in “Emissary.”
This is the third straight series to have an opening-credits regular killed only to have them come back in an odd sort of way. First there was Spock from the original series, killed in The Wrath of Khan and resurrected by the Genesis planet in The Search for Spock. Then there was Yar from TNG, killed in “Skin of Evil,” but her counterpart from an alternate reality came into our reality following the events of “Yesterday’s Enterprise,” and sired a lookalike daughter, as revealed in “Redemption II.” And then we have Dax, who dies in this episode, but the Dax symbiont lives on in Ezri Dax starting at the top of next season.
The Klingon death scream was established in TNG’s “Heart of Glory.”
Worf will lose another love in the Cold Equations trilogy by David Mack, when Enterprise security chief Jasminder Choudhury is killed. The framing sequence of Peter David’s novel Triangle: Imzadi II takes place right after Jadzia’s death in this episode.
Vedek Solis appears in several post-finale DS9 novels as a candidate to replace Winn as kai.
Martok promises that in a year’s time he, Sisko, and Ross will share a bloodwine on Cardassia Prime. The three will stand on that world at the end of the war while on the victorious side in “What You Leave Behind,” but they won’t share the toast Martok predicts.
Sisko receives a medal named after Christopher Pike, Kirk’s predecessor as captain of the Enterprise, as seen in “The Cage,” “The Menagerie” two-parter, the 2009 Star Trek, and Star Trek Into Darkness.
Sisko left the baseball behind as a symbol of his intent to return in “Call to Arms.” That he took the ball with him this time symbolizes that he may not come back.
Walk with the Prophets: “His baseball—he took it with him.” Back in 1991, Jim Abrahams co-wrote and directed a parody movie called Hot Shots! Primarily a spoof of Top Gun, the movie had a test pilot whose call sign was “Dead Meat.” A supporting character in the film, “Dead Meat” put off signing insurance papers until after his next test flight, walked under a ladder, had a black cat cross his path, and his wife informed him she was pregnant. He, of course, was killed. It was a perfect sendup of the clichés that surround characters who are pegged for death, as stuff is just piled on in an attempt at manufactured pathos.
I always think of Hot Shots! when I watch this episode. And that’s not a good thing.
Everything is just so constructed here. Just having Dax stay behind is odd, to say the least, since Dax always goes on these missions. Yes, it’s ridiculous that the whole senior staff just up and hares off on the Defiant every time there’s a mission, but leaving Dax behind this one and only time just stands out as absurd. No story reason is given for it, except so that Dax can be on the station to be killed by Dukat—oh, and Bashir stays behind without explanation, too, so he can be on the station to extract the symbiont.
Terry Farrell leaving the show is a huge loss anyhow, and I really just do not get the decision. The show was only going to be on the air for another year, why not just hold out? Especially since, of all the actors in the cast, Farrell had the worst negotiating position because she was by definition the most replaceable member of the cast. Just shove the slug into someone else’s belly.
Bad enough that we have the super-contrived death of a main character, but the person responsible is Dukat while possessed by the Pah-wraiths, who continue to be the most misbegotten addition to the DS9 milieu. Seriously, Dukat kills Jadzia with a ray beam he fires while his eyes glow red.
There are actual good things that happen in this episode, like the cool space battle and Odo and Kira stumbling their way around a relationship and every single conversation between Weyoun and Damar (the bit quoted above was epic, but Weyoun’s orgasm over the platforms was a very close second). But ultimately, this is the episode that painfully and obviously contrived Jadzia’s death while continuing the imbecilic Pah-wraith stupidity.
Warp factor rating: 2
Keith R.A. DeCandido has a bunch of new things out, including the short stories “Time Keeps on Slippin’” (in the Stargate SG-1/Atlantis anthology Far Horizons), “Stone Cold Whodunit” (in the superhero anthology With Great Power), “Fish Out of Water” (in Out of Tune, a Jonathan Maberry-edited anthology of stories based on sea ballads), and “Undine the Boardwalk” (in the Bad-Ass Faeries anthology It’s Elemental); the essays “Embracing the Entire Universe: The WildStorm Era” (in New Life and New Civilizations, a history of Star Trek in comics form) and “Gaming the Novel” (in Kobold Guide to Combat); and the Sleepy Hollow novel Children of the Revolution (reviewed on this very site).