DS9: S7E20: “The Changing Face of Evil: Part 4”

In which the Breen flex their muscles, Damar flexes his patriotism, and Dukat flexes his [censored].


“Fun” Fact – I am watching this on September 11th.

They hit San Francisco, Starfleet HQ, for maximum insult. Martok is grudgingly impressed with their boldness, but encourages Sisko not to lose heart. At the same time, Weyoun and his Breen buddy are gloating about the strike on Earth, while Damar tries to drive a wedge that the two of them refuse to engage with. Still, he sows the seeds like a patient gardener. Speaking of gardening, Kassidy is apparently not a great cook and ruined Sisko’s pepper, but she was trying to cheer him up prior to leaving on her cargo run. He doesn’t want her to go, not with the marauding Breen forces.

Back to Damar, he’s engaged one of his officers, and uses the healing power of blind militant nationalism to keep the guy from chickening out. Back when Dukat made the deal, everyone cheered because they didn’t realize it meant being occupied in their own lands. They’ve got a list of Cardassian loyalist generals and troops, and the next phase will involve knowing where Dominion weapon emplacements are.

Winn is cancelling all her meetings, in the wake of her recent life-changing decision to abandon the Prophets and embrace the Pah-wraiths and the path of power they offer. Dukat wanders in from her bedroom, only metaphorically swinging his junk around. Winn Adami is struggling with reconciling all the ritual of Bajoran religion with her newfound faith. This is also when Dukat, as Anjohl, tells her about his plan to release the Pah-wraiths from the fire caves. The prophecies are fairly specific that that’s a bad idea, but of course prophecies only get so specific, you can always say that The End is metaphorical. And thus he encourages her to open the ultra-forbidden Text of the Kosst Amojan. And Dukat will be right there.

Julian and Miles are planning another run at the Alamo, and they’re planning to strengthen most of the walls. One can’t help but wonder if they’re looking forward to a Lost Cause a little less in the wake of the attack on Earth. Miles wants to keep fightng the real battle of the Alamo, Julian just wants to win. Worf, looking on with Ezri from on high and playing the role of Best Girlfriend and Wingman for her, is still very skeptical of Julian as a prospect for Dax. However, as a tactical expert, he also really wants to go play Glorious Defeat with the boys.

“There’s my old buddy Damar. You don’t need booze to have a good time!”

Damar is up early planning Resistance things when Weyoun drops by and he has to pull the Teenage Rapid Window Close move and pretend to be reviewing Breen tactical updates. Weyoun makes small talk about how the Breen refrigeration suits are complete red-herrings, and also makes some inferences about Damar’s sudden sobriety – the wrong ones, fortunately, unless Weyoun is playing a very deep game. Weyoun’s conclusion is that the entrance of the Breen has helped him see that the Dominion will prevail after all. Whether it’s villain decay or just an extended familiarity showing us all the cracks, Weyoun seems a lot less on-the-ball than those first Vorta encounters.

Solbor, Winn’s executive assistant, is not at all sanguine about Winn being the first person in 700 years to read the book. The Bajorans have a formulation of the ‘stare into the abyss’ saying. They do not, apparently have the saying about it taking religion to make good people do evil things, because it is ultimately the argument that this is all the Will of the Prophets that he should not question that gets him to leave the book. It takes Winn just a bit of convincing to unlock the book and read it, but it’s blank. Protection beyond mere physical locks, perhaps.

Odo has implemented some new security protocols, and also grounded Kassidy’s ship, in the guise of influencing the Bajoran Freight and Shipping authority offering her a month’s paid vacation. While they argue and Quark and Odo kibbitz, Kai Winn continues her research into all the evilest books the archives have to offer. She’s even sending Anjohl away so she can focus. Next time we cut back to Deep Space Nine, Sisko has rescinded his influence and gotten flowers, and Ross shows up to deliver more bad news about Breen incursions.

They’ve launched an offensive to take back the Chin’toka system, the only real foothold the Federation had. During the pre-flight checks, they discuss Julian having lost Colonel Travis in Quarks, and Worf makes sidelong comments to Ezri. When Sisko shows up the banter ends, and they head off to war.

Winn has fallen asleep during her studies, and Solbor tries to take the books away, only for Dukat to stop him and punch him in the face. He does not judge her ready yet to hear about that, and goes back to being ‘supportive’ when he wakes her up.

Damar and his buddy are not pleased about the upcoming Dominion reclamation of Chin’toka, but they have troops in place. The Founder will be witnessing the battle firsthand, and nobody seems worried about all of the Federation and Alliance forces approaching the battle. When the shooting goes hot, it seems to start well for the Federation, but very quickly it turns out that Breen weapons cause major power outages and total system failures for the Defiant, which nobody seems to have been prepared for. Sisko is forced to issue the order to abandon ship very quickly, no doubt bringing back memories of the Saratoga, and we see the Defiant utterly wrecked onscreen. You’d think that someone in the Sol system would have reported on the Breen weaponry, but perhaps it was held in reserve, or perhaps there were no survivors. It certainly seems to be standard Dominion practice to sweep up lifeboats, because the Founder has to specify an exception this time, to send the survivors back home as morale mines.

“It slices, it dices, it commits homicidal apostasy with ease. Order now!”

Solbor breaks in on Dukat seducing Winn with some stunning revelations – he’s found out that the real Anjohl Tennan died in the labor camps, and that he is Cardassian. And once they knew that, recognizing the face ought to become a bit easier. At this point, Dukat has to come clean and force Winn to a decision point by outing their scheme in stark terms. At that point she can either turn away from him and face her people, or get rid of Solbor and abandon any hope of redemption. Guess which. And when the blood of her trusted assistance falls on the pages of the book, it flames to life and reveals the words of the Pah-wraiths. She’s back in on the plan.

During the post-mortem with Ross, Sisko is interrupted by Kira to go out and watch Damar’s address in which he lays bare the details of their treaty. And the formal announcement of the Cardassian Resistance against the Dominion. Damar’s first target was the cloning facility. With the Wormhole guarded, there’s significantly fewer supply lines for reinforcement now, and apparently Damar picked that cloning facility because it’s where Weyoun’s gene-line was stored. The current Weyoun could be the last one. Which means that with the loss of so many ships, the Federation now has an alternate way to fight the war – support the Cardassian resistance.

Did we miss something awesome?