Well, this is the end of the road, a double-sized conclusion that wraps up multiple storylines, provides happy endings for some, a sense of hard-earned victory that feels hollow, and being very Star Trek in how it all comes down to the right man being in the right place at the right time.
So, how to handle this last episode here is, well, something. Let’s start by making a comparison: how does this show match up to Babylon 5, the other sci-fi space station-based epic of the 90s that was an early adopter of serialized storytelling. I really need to rewatch that show to make a good comparison between the two, but my general impression now is B5 probably did the space battle better even with their early 90s CGI. Star Trek back then was never all that good at space battles. Likewise, B5 probably had a lot more moral complexity with its characters, but that’s because, deep down, DS9 is still Star Trek, and that means the characters probably have to get along all the time. No matter how much DS9 got into shades of gray, it was still, at its core, Star Trek.
That said, DS9 probably had better characters. I liked B5 quite a bit, but the human characters were not as interesting as the ones here. I generally liked the aliens more on B5. Here, well, I like pretty much all the characters the same. I chalk that up to better acting here. Then again, I do need to rewatch B5 one of these days. Probably with Jimmy if he can find the show.
Next, well, the way the show wrapped things up. For starters, the Pah-Wraith plot was a bit of a fizzle. Dukat and Winn both die, and Winn might have saved the day if she didn’t announce what she was doing just before Dukat, killed by Winn as a blood sacrifice and revived with some superpowers by the Pah-Wraiths and returned to his Cardassian form. But ultimately, it means Sisko has to push himself, Dukat, and the book of the Pah-Wraiths into the flames of the Fire Cave, destroying the book and sealing the Pah-Wraiths away forever. Why did Sisko have to do this? My guess is a Bajoran never would have because step foot in the Fire Caves under normal circumstances, so some other outsider had to do it. And maybe it had to be a human because that ending is clearly taken from The Lord of the Rings, and I don’t know that an alien from another race would know that work.
Regardless, that one plotline was the only really disappointing thing. Sisko ascends to the Celestial Temple and gets to have a last chat with the pregnant Kasidy, promising he’ll be back someday, apparently because Avery Brooks didn’t like the idea of a Black man abandoning his wife and son permanently, and the writers listened.
As for the war, the Female Changeling, dying as she is, does end things only have linking with Odo, and act that cures her, but by then, she’d already ordered the genocide of the Cardassians, an act that drove more Cardassians to the side of the Alliance and even got Damar a few more followers for his mission to storm Cardassian headquarters with Garek and Kira.
It was nice seeing Garek, Kira, Damar, and their supporters basically share a laugh when they realize they don’t even have strong enough explosives to get inside. Then Damar dies, and my god, the fact that guy became a great character really says something. Before too long, Garek will murder the last Weyoun and enjoy it, and even then, it takes Odo, I believe, cutting a deal to get the war to end: he shows the Female Changeling that the Federation is not treacherous and will honor an agreement, he gives her the cure, and he agrees to return to the Great Link while she goes on trial for war crimes. That does mean Kira and Odo need to separate, but like Sisko and Kasidy, there’s always a chance Odo will return to Kira, the one thing that would prevent that at this point is the passing of Rene Auberjonois.
Really, there are a lot of great moments here. I thought the show was skipping out on showing a lot of things, but apparently the series was saving up money to have as many guest stars as possible for this final episode, so that means bringing back Dukat, Winn, Damar, Garek, Martok, Vic Fontaine, Nog, and Keiko, giving many of them a good send-off (Keiko not so much) as the likes of Chief O’Brien, Odo, and Worf leave the station. Heck, many of those folks, plus a lot of the crew, appear sans make-up in a party scene at Vic’s.
And then there were the flashbacks. Those were a nice touch. There’s Odo remembering time with Kira. There’s O’Brien remembering time with Bashir. Jake remembers his father. Worf remembers time on the station without Jadzia but with Ezri because Terry Farrell or her manager or both refused to let them use footage of her for this final episode (good for her).
Quark has a flashback too. I am not sure why. He’s not leaving the station.
And so, it all ends with Jake and Kira, both left behind, gazing out a window at the wormhole, wondering if their loved ones will return. Quark may ruminate that the more things change, the more they stay the same, but was that really true for many of these characters? I would think not. This was a damn good trip, the Star Trek that experimented with serialized storytelling (there really wasn’t as much as one might think), but was still, at its core, Star Trek, set in a universe where basically, everyone seems to get along.
That said, I will admit the final scene between Quark and Odo was a really nice touch, seeing two people who would never admit to caring for each other actually do so without saying so is always nice.
OK, well, this was the show I was covering when Jimmy and I didn’t get a Next Generation chat done. And I ended this one over a season ahead. Best move on to the next series: Voyager.
Back when these shows were still airing, I actually saw far more of Voyager than Deep Space Nine, but eventually quit because it stopped working for me. Will I like it more this time around? It’s a more traditional sort of Star Trek after all.