Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Episode Review - Sacrifice of Angels (Deep Space Nine, Season 6)

For those who are new to my episode reviews, you can find the post where I establish my point criteria here.

Overview – The battle to retake Deep Space Nine has begun, and the Federation is determined to succeed. Captain Sisko leads the fleet into a battle where they are totally outnumbered. Back on the station, Kira and the other members of her resistance cell try to devise a plan that will prevent the Dominion from deactivating the minefield and free Rom from prison before he is executed. Odo must finally pick a side to be on as everything converges on the outcome of this important battle.

Trying to stop the minefield from being destroyed

Score: 9/10 – For the last five episodes we fans have been enjoying the ride that has built to this moment: the retaking of Deep Space Nine. The final episode in this six-episode arc does not disappoint. The space battle is the biggest seen in Trek so far, and the stakes for our characters have never been higher. The writers did a commendable job over all six episodes in building these characters to this moment. In addition to the action, we experience humor, suspense, exciting thrills, and heart-breaking loss. Strong acting from many of the actors further adds to the feel of this episode. Special recognition must be given to Marc Alaimo as Gul Dukat, who gives a tour de force performance as this Cardassian runs the gambit of emotions. It is said that Ira Steven Behr decided to expand the story from five episodes into six, and he made the right call here. This was an almost perfect episode to wrap things up on. The one thing that I wish would have been done a little better was the tragedy that Garak finds upon returning to the station. It would have been nice to have devoted a bit more time to this, but for the most part his sorrow is adequately addressed.

One of DS9's most tragic scenes

Relevance - 3 points. A point is scored for the death of Tora Ziyal as it provides the catalyst for the tipping point of Dukat’s madness, as well as giving us a heart-wrenching tie up to the Garak-Ziyal love story. Another point is scored for the beginning of the resolution between Kira and Odo, who have been moving apart for much of the last few episodes. The resolution will carry forward into the next episode. We also see Quark save Kira and the others in the resistance as he breaks them out of the holding cells in security. This debt of gratitude will be repaid by Kira later in the show. Finally, the intervention of the Prophets/wormhole aliens in stopping Dominion reinforcements from the Gamma Quadrant will have repercussions for Ben Sisko and his crew. While they saved the Alpha Quadrant this time, it will come at a price later in the series. 

Holding his dead daughter.

Continuity – 3 points. Everything across the board checks out here. Story continuity is good. Nothing contradicts anything else here. Universe continuity works out as well. Character continuity is well maintained with the progression of several main characters and many of the recurring ones. A particular example is Quark attempting the prison break of Kira’s resistance. It is typical Quark when he uses the comedic classic of “Nobody move!” and then tells someone to move. Afterwards, when he has killed his first Jem’Hadar soldiers, he is in a bit of shock, which is what we would expect of the self-professed people person. Another example is in the scene where the Defiant’s crew boards the station amidst great celebration. There are warm reunions aplenty, except for poor Garak. As he looks for Ziyal, he overhears someone mention that Kira was in the infirmary with Ziyal. That is exactly where Kira would have been. She loved Ziyal almost like a daughter, and as happy as she was to see the Dominion gone, she would not have been anywhere else but beside the lifeless body of her friend.

Quark makes his stand.

Character Development – 3 points. Oh boy, where do I start. Let’s begin with Quark. Our resident bartender finally gets his hands dirty in recruiting Ziyal to assist him in springing Kira, Rom, and the others from security. He finds a great deal of courage within himself, even going to the point where he kills a pair of Jem’Hadar guards in doing so. Kira and Odo also get a great deal of attention as their relationship slowly begins the healing process. Ben Sisko also gives the Prophets an ultimatum after they try to stop him from sacrificing himself to stop the Dominion fleet. Most of all, we see some great development in some of our beloved secondary characters. Dukat, as mentioned before, had been slowly losing his wits during this episode (and some would say before), but when Damar kills Ziyal in front of him, he is shoved beyond the breaking point. His madness will eventually lead him to the Pah Wraiths. Damar also sees his course change with the firing of his phaser as his action will give him the position of the new leader of Cardassia. This will also lead to some interesting developments in the final season story arc.

Dukat is broken

Social Commentary – 2 points. Again, with so much happening, this category took some reflection on my part. Mostly, this story talks about sacrifice. Sisko and his crew are willing to sacrifice everything to retake DS9. Kira and her cohorts are willing to sacrifice everything to stop the Dominion. Sometimes the sacrifice is too much. I felt that this is where the episode should have done more. There should have been more sacrifice. Yes, many ships were lost. Yes, Ziyal dies in the end. Yes, the full cost of this victory will not be felt until later in the season and series. I can’t help but wish that the price would have been a little heavier for the crew. Some bad injuries or something. Still, a good topic to ponder.

The Dominion fleet in the wormhole

Cool Stuff – 3 points. One point must be scored for the battle. It is arguably one of the most epic space battles in all of Trek history, far greater than anything seen before. While the series finale has the grandest space fights of them all, this one raised the bar for the rest of Trek. Another point is scored for Quark’s jail break. He gets pushed well outside his comfort zone here, and it gives us some fun and cool moments. I also want to score a point here for Ziyal’s death. Her character has always been one of tragedy. She was a daughter of a Cardassian dictator and a Bajoran mistress that he loved. Neither world wanted her, yet she became a symbol of the healing between the two bitterest of enemies. She was what some have argued the only good that came from Dukat. Despite all her hardships, she was a beacon of hope through her art. She even found a way into the heart of our not-so-simple tailor, Garak. She was the girl who never lied who found love with the man who could never reveal the whole truth. When Damar killed her for her betrayal in helping Kira, it wasn’t just Dukat who screamed out in denial, it was all of us. I also love the final scene between Sisko and Dukat, when Dukat returns Ben’s baseball that had been left as a message to the Dominion. It was a great way of making that symbol go full circle.

One of the many cool battle scenes

Rank – Admiral (23 points). If you have made it this far into the series, there is no reason to miss this episode. It is a near perfect ending to the ambitious story that was the beginning of Deep Space Nine’s sixth season.

"Time to start packing"

If you would like to read other reviews from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, please click the following link.

If you would like to read an episode review from any of the Trek series, click the following link to get to the series catalog. If the episode you want reviewed has not been done yet, then feel free to request it in the comments and I will see what I can do.

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