When Sisko decides to spend some quality time with Jake doing a science project in the Gamma Quadrant, he is less than impressed when Nog and Quark end up coming along as well. But things only go from bad to worse when Quark and Sisko are captured by a mysterious alien warrior race known as the Jem’Hadar. It looks as if the Dominion are finally ready to make contact with the Federation, and they aren’t happy about all these intrusions into their territory.
The season two finale marks a significant shift in the focus of DS9, setting the stage for much of what is to come – the Dominion War, the arrival of the Defiant and Odo discovering the truth about his origins. With that in mind, it’s always felt a bit odd that this is a single episode instead of a two-parter, but of course there’s more on this to come in the season three opener.
- Sisko and Jake’s interactions. Jake’s been absent for quite a bit of this season, but now that he’s back, he has a good chemistry with his father. If your dad was the commander of a space station, it’s entirely likely that he would want to use his position to get you an awesome science project.
- Quark’s speeches. Although the second one feels a bit shoe-horned in, I love that Quark calls out Sisko and humanity in general for looking down on Ferengi. Humanity is supposed to be enlightened and tolerant, but hating the Ferengi is the last acceptable prejudice.
“You Federation types are all alike: You talk about tolerance and understanding, but you only practice it toward people who remind you of yourselves. Because you disapprove of Ferengi values, you scorn us, distrust us, insult us every chance you get.”
- The big reveal that the days of jollies to the Gamma Quadrant are over. The Dominion is a powerful force, and they’ve had enough. Of course, this also made me a bit sad, as I liked it when you could just pop over to the Gamma Quadrant to see a new planet, have a cup of raktajino, and then head home again – all in your favourite runabout.
- Despite Quark’s words, the Ferengi are still portrayed as inferior in this episode. Quark isn’t manly and stoic like Sisko, so he’s scared and desperate – and to be scorned for that. Similarly, whilst Jake is determined to rescue his father, Nog is terrified. There’s almost an undercurrent of “the Ferengi aren’t masculine enough, so they are inferior”.
- We later learn that Eris’ people, the Vorta, are programmed to worship the Founders as gods, so it must have been very difficult for her to claim they don’t exist, even if she was just acting. She doesn’t even acknowledge Odo as a Founder.
- The elaborate scheme to get Eris aboard the station seems overkill when they could just send Changelings (and likely already have) – was it just a demonstration of power? Were the Dominion figuratively getting their cocks out and putting them on the table, just to show how big they are? “We have warriors, we have telekinetics, and you haven’t even met our leaders yet”.
- The recently established New Bajor colony in the Gamma Quadrant has been destroyed. The Bajorans really can’t catch a break.
- The Vorta’s telekinetic powers are never seen or mentioned again.
Summary – The Jem’Hadar: The Dominion step up to take centre stage, and destroy a Galaxy-class starship.