This episode marks the first appearance of Jeffrey Combs’s other character on Deep Space Nine, namely Weyoun of the Vorta. Despite the fact the character is most assuredly killed off by the episode’s end, Combs and his performance were popular enough with the producers for them to decide that the Vorta, like the Jem’Haddar, are genetically engineered by the Founders, so it was easy enough to bring Combs back as various cloned versions of Weyoun.
I think that’s a smart decision, but I like seeing Combs in just about everything.
The Defiant finds a the station in disarray when they return from a standard mission: a Jem’Haddar strike force hit the station, killed or wounded a lot of people, and then left just as quickly with some stolen tech. Sisko wasn’t there at the time, but this is the sort of thing that makes the man angry, so he’s back on the Defiant almost as quickly as he arrived, leaving Bashir behind to tend the wounded and Kira behind to run the station. Kira’s wounded herself, but it does mean Sisko is headed into the unknown with O’Brien, Worf, Dax, and Odo, plus the regular crew of the Defiant. En route, they find a crippled Jem’Haddar ship with seven life signs onboard. Showing excess caution, they beam the survivors, unarmed, onto the ship: six Jem’Haddar fighters and one Vorta, a cynical weasel of a man named Weyoun.
Apparently, a Jem’Haddar splinter group found an Iconian Gateway, and such a station could allow the Jem’Haddar to attack anyone anywhere without needing to take the wormhole to the Alpha Quadrant. The Founders don’t want them to have this, so for the time being, the Jem’Haddar and the crew of the Defiant have a common enemy to take down. Can they work together?
Answer: barely. The Jem’Haddar have always been a rather interesting group. They are genetically bred to fight…and that’s it. They have no other interests outside of fighting, killing, and dying. Their commander, Toman’torax, will follow Sisko’s commands on the ship, but he will make it clear that this is at best a temporary arrangement, and he isn’t afraid to criticize Sisko for perceived weak leadership. You know, kind of like how when Worf and the Jem’Haddar second-in-command get into a brawl, the Jem’Haddar is killed on the spot and goes willingly to death while Worf is just confined to quarters.
It’s moments like that scene that show how different the priorities of the two groups are. Toman’torax isn’t happy he killed his friend and longtime companion and underling, but felt it had to be done to maintain discipline. Sisko knows a dead Worf can’t help him in the future, and killing insubordinates is bad for morale, a reasoning Toman’torax finds shows a sign of weakness.
Meanwhile, joint training missions aren’t going well, Odo is getting stared at by Weyoun (including an offer to rejoin the Founders, an offer Odo refuses for now), and no one seems to be getting along all that well…with one noteworthy possible exception.
Yeah, Dax manages to somehow score some points with one fellow who can’t stop staring at her. He’s watching her to observe her ways of doing things, leading to her to ask him some questions about his people. She assumes he is about 15 or so years old. He’s actually 8. He doesn’t eat or sleep. There are no females to enjoy…
…in retrospect, some of the talk of females may have aged in unexpected ways, but I am moving on…
…and any Jem’Haddar that manages to make it to 20 becomes an honored elder. The only thing he is expected to do is fight and die for the Founders.
Then Dax drops that she’s over 300 years old. Her watcher offers flattery that she doesn’t look it, and during the final fight, she does tell the guy he’ll make honored elder yet, so that’s about as close as any member of the crew and a Jem’Haddar come to being friends.
That said, oddly enough, the biggest tension with the Jem’Haddar comes from Weyoun. He initially did not tell them what the splinter group found, under the assumption that more of the Jem’Haddar would defect to the splinter group if they knew. It turns out they already knew and were actually insulted that their loyalty was questioned. So, yeah, while Sisko and Toman’torax, a name I hope I never have to type again, were far from friends, they likewise weren’t trying to kill each other after the mission. Sure, the Jem’Haddar commander threatened to kill Sisko once the mission was over, but Sisko actually saved his life during the fight, so that gives the Federation personnel a temporary reprieve.
It’s probably the best they could hope for.
Weyoun? He questioned the soldiers’ loyalty. He gets disintegrated. You really shouldn’t mess too much with those guys.