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Case Number 03832

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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Season Seven

Paramount // 1999 // 1170 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Eric Profancik (Retired) // January 13th, 2004

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All Rise...

Editor's Note

Our reviews of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Season One (published April 8th, 2003), Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Season Two (published May 23rd, 2003), Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Season Three (published September 6th, 2003), Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Season Four (published November 3rd, 2003), Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Season Five (published November 11th, 2003), and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Season Six (published December 8th, 2003) are also available.

The Charge

"To the best crew any Captain ever had: This may be the last time we're all together, but no matter what the future holds, no matter how far we travel, a part of us—a very important part—will always remain here on Deep Space Nine."
Captain Benjamin Lafayette Sisko
"What You Leave Behind"

Opening Statement

Seven years. Seven years filled with a rich tapestry of characters, plots, and shows. Seven years of fun and drama all tied wonderfully together by tales of Prophets, Changelings, and war. The saga of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine kept fans riveted with its fresh take on the Star Trek universe, but seven years was not enough. Though never fully appreciated during its time, DS9 is the best of the five series. I've just been able to make that determination after spending the last year watching the episodes in order for only the second time. Being the black sheep of the family has done this show a great disservice, for it's rarely been in syndication. People have not had the opportunity to savor the delights of the show. Even now, few people outside its core fan base will realize the depth and beauty of DS9 due to the high price tag on the DVD sets. Unfortunately, they are missing some of the best science fiction to come along in quite a long time.

NOTE: This review contains extensive spoilers about the seventh season of DS9.

Facts of the Case

This seven-disc set contains all 25 episodes of the final season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

"Image in the Sand"
Months later, back on Earth, Sisko has a vision from the Prophets giving him an idea of how to reopen the wormhole. Meanwhile on DS9, Kira is promoted to Colonel, Worf deals with the loss of Jadzia, the cult of the Pah-wraiths grows, and a Romulan Senator is assigned to the station. As Sisko is leaving on his quest, a new Dax, Ezri, comes into his life.
Grade: B

"Shadows and Symbols"
As Sisko continues his quest to reopen the wormhole, a dramatic discovery is made about his past. On DS9, Worf, Martok, O'Brien, Bashir, and Quark embark on an exceptionally dangerous mission: they fight to gain Jadzia entry into Sto-Vo-Kor.
Grade: B+

"Afterimage"
Ezri Dax arrives on the station and begins to reacquaint herself to her old surroundings, but Worf won't speak with her. Garak's claustrophobia begins to interfere with the work he's doing for Starfleet Intelligence.
Grade: B

"Take Me Out to the Holosuite"
Sisko's Academy nemesis, Vulcan Captain Solak, has arrived at DS9 for repairs on his ship. While there, he challenges Sisko and his crew against his all-Vulcan crew to a game of baseball.
Grade: A
Special Moment:
"What are you eating?"—Bashir
"I'm not eating. I'm chewing."—O'Brien
"Chewing what?"
"Gum. It's traditional. I had the replicator create me some."
"They just chewed it?"
"No, they infused it with flavor."
"What did you infuse it with?"
"Scotch."

"Chrysalis"
The four genetically enhanced humans from Season Six's "Statistical Probabilities" return to the station. Since first meeting them, Bashir has been working on a treatment to help Sarina break free from her trauma. He believes he's found it.
Grade: B+

"Treachery, Faith, and the Great River"
The latest clone of Weyoun, number six, is "defective" and as a result, he wants to defect to the Federation. To do so, he tricks Odo into transporting him from Dominion space. During their transit, we first learn that a sickness has infected the Great Link. Back on DS9, Nog uses his Ferengi skills to acquire some much-needed equipment for O'Brien.
Grade: B
Special Moment: "Why be a god if there's no one to worship you?"

"Once More Unto the Breach"
The Klingon warrior Kor (John Colicos) returns to DS9 to ask Worf for help. Kor has fallen out of favor on the Klingon homeworld, but he wants to die as a warrior. He wants Worf to ask Martok for a ship to go into battle. But Martok hates Kor, and it's up to Worf to find a way to help the great Dahar Master Kor blaze a glorious path to Sto-Vo-Kor.
Grade: B

"The Siege of AR-558"
The crew of the Defiant is on a supply run to AR-558, a captured Dominion communications relay. The Federation has held the position for three months with no luck of breaking into the technology. But the Dominion wants the relay back and has mounted unrelenting assaults on the base, causing the Federation troops stationed there to become very demoralized after all the fighting and death. While Sisko is there, the Dominion launches another attack and he and his crew stay behind to help deflect the latest assault. During the battle, Nog is wounded and has to have his leg amputated.
Grade: B+

"Covenant"
Kira is kidnapped and taken to Empok Nor, where Dukat now leads a cult of the Pah-wraiths.
Grade: B-

"It's Only a Paper Moon"
Weeks after the siege of AR-558, Nog is having problems recovering from the psychological trauma of the battle. His only solace has been a recording of Vic singing, so Nog decides to live with Vic in the holosuite.
Grade: B

"Prodigal Daughter"
While on a personal quest, O'Brien is believed to have been captured by the Orion Syndicate. It's believed he's being held on New Sydney, which happens to be the planet where Ezri's family lives and runs a mining business. She's been estranged from her family from sometime, but she goes to New Sydney to find O'Brien. Ezri is successful, but she also uncovers some dark secrets about her family.
Grade: C+

"The Emperor's New Cloak"
Grand Nagus Zek has gone missing, and it's up to Quark to save him. He's in the alternate universe, and the alternate Ezri comes over with a ransom demand of a cloaking device. Quark agrees and acquires one, but he demands to deliver the item to himself. On the other side, Quark finds himself enmeshed in a web of lies and deceit.
Grade: B+
Special Moment: The "heightened interest" shown in the alternate universe between Kira and Ezri and Ezri and Leeta.

"Field of Fire"
A series of murders strikes DS9. To help solve the case, Ezri utilizes a Trill ceremony to call up the memories of a previous host, Joran—a murderer himself
Grade: C

"Chimera"
En route to DS9, O'Brien and Odo's runabout is boarded by a space alien, which turns out to be a changeling. This changeling has never met another of his kind, but has lived for hundreds of years. He and Odo learn from each other and plan out their future together.
Grade: B

"Badda-Bing Badda-Bang"
A "jack in the box" subroutine changes Vic's holoprogram. No one likes the changes, so Vic and the crew have to play the new scenario out in hopes of restoring things to the way they like them.
Grade: A-
Special Moment: When the crew walks down the Promenade in period clothing to save Vic.

"Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges"
As part of a special envoy being sent to Romulus to update them on the progress of the war, Bashir is once again approached by Section 31 to work for the organization.
Grade: A

"Penumbra"
We now return to the Dominion War, where events begin to unfold at a blinding clip: Worf is presumed lost in a battle, Ezri goes off on her own to find Worf, Sisko buys land on Bajor for his retirement, the sickness in the Great Link is getting worse, Sisko asks Kasidy to marry him, Ezri finds Worf and they "get it on" and are captured by the Breen, Dukat returns to Cardassia, and the Prophets tell Sisko he should not marry Kasidy.
Grade: B

"'Til Death Do Us Part"
More rapid developments: Kai Winn finally has a vision but it's with the Pah-wraiths and not the Prophets. She doesn't realize this and begins to do their bidding. Dukat, now surgically altered to appear as a Bajoran, becomes Winn's personal advisor. At the behest of the Prophets, Sisko calls off his wedding but then realizes he loves Kasidy too much and asks her to marry him in spite of the Prophets. Ezri, still in captivity with Worf, realizes she loves Bashir. And the Breen have joined forces with the Dominion.
Grade: C

"Strange Bedfellows"
Don't blink because we're still going at warp speed: Kai Winn realizes she's being manipulated by the Pah-wraiths; Ezri and Worf are taken to Cardassia where they resolve their differences before they are to be executed; Leget Damar is growing tired of the second-class treatment of his people, now worsened since the Breen arrived; Kai Winn gives herself to the Pah-wraiths; and Damar betrays the Dominion and frees Ezri and Worf.
Grade: C

"The Changing Face of Evil"
Take it to warp five: Ezri and Worf return to DS9, Earth is attacked by the Breen, Damar begins a resistance against the Dominion, Winn and Dukat plan to free the Pah-wraiths from the Fire Caves, the Battle of Chin'toka unfolds and the Federation takes massive losses against a new Breen weapon, Winn learns she's been working with Dukat, and Damar's resistance attacks the Dominion.
Grade: B

"When It Rains…"
Warp six: Kira, Odo, and Garak are sent to Damar to aid his resistance movement; Gowron comes to DS9, takes over command from General Martok, and begins an illogical offensive measure against the Dominion; Bashir discovers Odo is infected with the Changeling sickness and makes a startling discovery of where it came from; and Dukat is stricken blind when he tries to read the text of the Kost Amojan and Winn kicks him out.
Grade: B

"Tacking Into the Wind"
Several weeks later at warp seven: Damar's resistance is in full swing; Odo is quickly worsening; Gowron's initiative is failing; the Dominion clamps down on Cardassia; Kira, Odo, Garak, and Damar steal a Jem'Hadar ship with the new Breen weapon installed; Bashir and O'Brien devise a plan to learn more about the Changeling sickness; and Worf challenges Gowron's leadership.
Grade: B

"Extreme Measures"
With everyone now back on DS9, the war story arc takes a slight breather as Bashir and O'Brien work to save the dying Odo. Section 31 operative Sloan pays the station another visit.
Grade: C

"The Dogs of War"
Warp nine: Damar, Kira, and Garak go to Cardassia but are betrayed and trapped; a new Grand Nagus is named as Zek retires to Risa; Ezri and Bashir become a couple; Damar's resistance is wiped out by the Dominion; Kasidy learns she's pregnant; Damar begins a people's revolt; and the Federation decides to take a bold offensive step.
Grade: B

"What You Leave Behind"
The Dominion War comes to a conclusion, and our characters embark on new adventures.
Grade: B

The Evidence

I sit here a few days after finishing "What You Leave Behind," and I'm sad—sad in a couple of ways. First, I'm sad because I'm done with the series. I've had the pleasure over the last year to watch every episode of DS9 for only the second time since they originally aired. It's been wonderful to reacquaint myself with my friends from this wonderful series. Paramount really needs to treat this series better, for it is strong and deserving of a wider audience. It needs to be put into syndication so that more people can realize what they've unfortunately missed. I hear that SpikeTV will finally start airing the show sometime between 2004 and 2006. I guess that's a start.

On the other hand, I'm also sad because I'm terribly disappointed, once again, by the ending of the series. When I watched it nearly four years ago, I wasn't satisfied. This week, after hoping time would alter that perception, it didn't. It's a terrific letdown after such a thrilling ride. Over the years, the show created a vast mythology of Prophets, Vortas, Founders, and more. It was a sweeping tale that led the Federation into a terrible war. We'd been introduced to dozens and dozens of characters, and within the confines of the final episodes of year seven, everything had to resolve itself. And it did, but not to my satisfaction.

In one of the bonus features, it is said that the writers really needed five more episodes to close out the show. I agree. Actually, I believe the show needed an eighth season. This idea of running Trek shows for only seven years boggles my mind. The Next Generation was wildly popular and could have easily gone a few more years, but no, we had to jump ship and take them to the big screen to cash in on that popularity. Deep Space Nine, though not as popular, simply needed more time to more satisfactorily tie up the multitude of loose ends made over the years. Five episodes? Seven years? Neither would have been enough. Star Trek has always treated us to 26 hours of television per season (except in the rare occasion of season two of TNG and season one of Voyager). In year seven of DS9, there were 25 distinct episodes, with "What You Leave Behind" being a special two-hour series conclusion. For the first 15 hours of this season, there was little mention of the great Dominion War. Episodes revolved around other fan favorites like the alternate universe, the genetically engineered humans, and Vic Fontaine. Further, the first few episodes of the year also had to take time to settle the cliffhanger from Season Six and to flesh out Ezri Dax, which I'll talk about a bit later. It wasn't until we get to "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges" that the writers realized that they were running out of time. The stories had to begin to resolve all the plots. That's why in my episode descriptions above, I make "joking" references to warp speed: so much had to happen in so little time. Because of that, the episodes didn't gel like they had in the past. The quality of the writing fell at the expense of resolving the series. That's why there are far more "C" grade shows in this year than in any other year I've reviewed. Though it pains my to say this, "Take Me Out to the Holosuite" and "Badda-Bing Badda-Bang" should not have been written. They are great and fun episodes and some of the best of the season, but they take up needed time. Energies were misdirected and the series doesn't come to a proper end.

And what about all of the characters that we've grown to love over time? For the most part, their new paths are logical and agreeable. But some fates just don't sit all that well, most notably that of Captain Sisko. I'm not going to discuss his exact fate ("But, why not?" you ask, "you've already spoiled just about everything else from the season"), but simply said, I've never liked it. Granted, it's a bold and unique way of resolving his role as Emissary, but I would have greatly preferred something related to that home he was going to build on Bajor. Our Captains are meant to always be on the front lines, boldly going where no one has gone before.

The other remarkable event of the seventh season involves the change to the Dax character. As you know, Terry Farrell opted out of playing Jadzia Dax for the final season, so the writers decided to bring in Nicole deBoer (Cube, The Dead Zone) and create Ezri Dax. First, I know that I am in the minority, but I find Ezri to be far more attractive than Jadzia. Given a choice, I'd pick Nicole every time. But, since I'll never be given that choice, I'll continue to dream. Moving on. Unlike Jadzia, Ezri's character was of a Trill that had not gone through the initiate training. She was the only Trill onboard the starship carrying Dax, and the Dax symbiot had to be implanted. As a result, Ezri's character is nervous, bumbling, lacking in self-confidence, and simply an all-around mess. Unsure of who she is and who she wants to be, Ezri is nothing like Jadzia. The transition from one Dax to the other was handled with remarkable aplomb by the writers. They took several episodes to smoothly integrate the character into the fold, keeping her the same yet different from Jadzia. It was an expertly performed transition. But, on the flipside, the time devoted to the new Jadzia, most notably in "Prodigal Daughter," slows down the momentum in resolving all of the other threads, as previously mentioned.

Moving on to the discs, this batch is like every other Star Trek season release that has come before it. If you've seen one, then you've seen them all: it's nothing spectacular, and it adequately delivers the episodes to the fan at home. Aside from some heavy grain in "Penumbra," the discs are clean with satisfactory transfers; the video contains solid colors and good details and contrast, while the audio has clear dialogue without hiss or distortion and the usual minimal use of the surrounds and subwoofer. And, as in Season Six, with the abundance of space battles in this series, an encompassing Dolby Digital 5.1 mix really would have been appreciated.

The bonus materials on this last batch are a touch thinner than in previous years, which is greatly disappointing considering the amount of topics that could have been addressed for a show with such lofty ambition. Your choices of special features are:

• "Ending an Era" (15 minutes): A strong featurette that nicely details Sisko's arc as Emissary and how it tied the series together. It's a heartfelt look at the show that clearly expresses the sincere love everyone had for putting it all together. It also has some interesting behind-the-scenes footage on the making of "What You Leave Behind."
• Crew Dossier—Benjamin Sisko (12.5 minutes): Certainly the most perplexing dossier on any box set, this featurette raises more questions than it answers. During interviews, Avery Brooks uses verbs such as "endured" and "survived" when discussing his seven years as Ben Sisko. I was never under the impression Brooks was less than happy with his time on the show. Fascinating.
• Crew Dossier—Jake Sisko (10 minutes): An unfortunately flat and shallow look at the boy who became a man during his time on Deep Space Nine. This one also repeats many things already stated in the Ben Sisko dossier.
• "The Last Goodbyes" (12.5 minutes): A good idea that is well presented, this featurette details the emotions of the actors as they shoot their final scene in Vic's and at the after-party.

There's also a boring photo gallery, an inappropriate trailer for The Adventures of Indiana Jones, and the requisite "hidden" Section 31 files, which nicely give a few minutes to the supporting characters. Missing once again are any commentaries, bloopers, deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes footage, or epic documentaries on the series.

The Rebuttal Witnesses

Just a few random thoughts from this year:

• The baseball episode, "Take Me Out to the Holosuite," was a lot better this time around. I remember being thoroughly annoyed by this non-arc story so early on in the season. But, knowing what to expect, I appreciated this one more this time. The same is also true of "Badda-Bing Badda-Bang."
• Kira, who had gone a bit soft in the past year, came out strong for the final season. She was pissed off and ready to kick some butt, and she did. Now promoted to Colonel—which unfortunately doesn't flow as well as Major: Major Kira, Colonel Kira—she was given a hot little outfit to wear, got a slick new hairdo, and took command with style.
• The new alien race of Breen look a lot like Princess Leia's bounty hunter from Return of the Jedi, don't you think?
• Paramount's problem with the positioning of chapter two has been finally corrected. For every episode this year, if you hit skip during chapter one, you will be taken to the end of the opening credits. Thank you.

Closing Statement

I am very sad to once again be at the end of this fabulous series, honestly the most original, the most innovative, and best of the five. Deep Space Nine tried a new twist on the tried and true Trek formula and succeeded, boldly expanding the Trek universe more than any other since the original. To compensate for my loss, I've recently gone out and picked up a few DS9 books that I haven't read—which, as you Trek fans know, are the only books left in the Trek universe that are actually written well. Hopefully they'll be enough to wean me from my year-long addiction.

As I've been saying for several seasons now, you really should be watching this show. It's a wonderful variation of the Trek universe, with excellent characters and a riveting plot. Though it doesn't come to fruition as nicely as I would have hoped, it is still definitely worth your time. Buy the series and immerse yourself in the tales of Captain Benjamin Sisko and his faithful crew aboard Deep Space Station 9.

The Verdict

The court hereby declares that Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is the finest incarnation of Trek and thereby not guilty on all counts.

Case dismissed.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 85
Audio: 87
Extras: 75
Acting: 93
Story: 84
Judgment: 88

Perp Profile

Studio: Paramount
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)
Subtitles:
• English
Running Time: 1170 Minutes
Release Year: 1999
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Genres:
• Science Fiction
• Star Trek
• Television

Distinguishing Marks

• "Ending an Era"
• Crew Dossier: Benjamin Sisko
• Crew Dossier: Jake Sisko
• "The Last Goodbyes"
• Section 31 Hidden Files

Accomplices

• IMDb
• Official Site
• Trekweb








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