The Great Star Trek DS9 Rewatch: To the Death

When DS9 is attacked by a Jem’Hadar ship, the Defiant goes in pursuit, only to find out that these are renegades. Now, Sisko and the Defiant crew must work together with Vorta Weyoun and his own troop of Jem’Hadar to bring down the renegades before they activate an Iconian gateway that would let them travel anywhere in the galaxy.

This was one of my favourite episodes as a teen – it had cool weapons, plenty of hand to hand combat, and an interesting twist that forces Sisko to work with the Dominion. I have to admit that I’m not quite as keen on it now, but it’s still a solid and entertaining slice of DS9. It even manages to recycle the concept of the Iconian gateway from TNG’s Contagion, although as in that episode, this precious artefact of an ancient civilisation ends up getting destroyed. I guess we just can’t have nice things.

Jem’Hadar Factbox

  • As we knew from The Abandoned, the Jem’Hadar mature to adulthood within a matter of days. What we didn’t know until now is that their battle-filled lifestyle means that they have very short lifespans – any Jem’Hadar who makes it to the age of twenty is considered an “Honoured Elder”.
  • Jem’Hadar do not need sleep or food, nor are they interested in entertainment or relaxation.
  • There are no Jem’Hadar women, and sexual reproduction is not required – they are grown in borth chambers. It’s unclear whether the Jem’Hadar have male sex organs, or if they merely appear male because they were programmed to have high levels of testosterone and a lack of any inconveniently vulnerable features such as breasts.
  • Weyoun confirms that the ketracel white is a useful and indeed necessary control over the Jem’Hadar, as they do not always obey the Founders unquestioningly.
  • The Jem’Hadar place great ceremony around going into battle or receiving their ketracel white, something which Weyoun does not seem to appreciate.

Other points

  • This is the first appearance of the Vorta Weyoun. Although he gets killed at the end of the episode, four further Weyoun clones will appear throughout the remainder of DS9.
  • Given how few troops they have, you’d have thought Omet’iklan could have held off on killing Toman’torax. Then again, he might have been actively dangerous to have in battle, if he wasn’t going to listen to orders.
  • Despite being the most feared race of warriors in the galaxy, the Jem’Hadar are relatively easily defeated, at the cost of only a few nameless security officers. And Ramirez. Brave Ramirez, we will never forget you.

Summary – To the Death: Sometimes you have to work with the Dominion.

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