In which a relationship, a war, and a legacy end.
Garak has a new motivation for going out to fight. With the capitol city being leveled and his childhood home moments for demolishment, he’s not fighting for freedom, equality, and brotherhood. He’s fighting for revenge. Dukat and Winn are having some catharsis at the edge of the fire caves as she strips off her vestiments of the traditional Bajoran religion. They have this sudden romantic rekindling, and as she calls to the Kosst Amojan, we cut to Sisko taking stock of the new Defiant. The ship’s still intact and fighting fit, which is good because now all the ships making up the Dominion’s defense perimeter are right there.
The rebel attack has hit a snag – the cargo bay doors are neutronium. There are a couple of different definitions of that, so we can assume they don’t mean ‘neutron star matter’ but suffice to say the doors are very dense and will not be opening with the explosives they brought. Garak finds it hilarious. All their ambitions die here, because they can’t even get the door open.
The Breen commander heads out to the front lines to run things from there. The Founder is getting sicker. She’s dying, and unable to even revert to liquid state, like the solids she hates. And a reminder – the Federation committed this genocidal act.
So you know how evil always contains the seeds of its own destruction for the purposes of narrative satisfaction? Broca being sent out the back for execution is going to be what gives the rebels a way in. They get a toehold, but Damar gets shot in the process. He dies as a martyr to the revolution, and with all the other guards out eradicating the civilians, there’s only a few left to defend the Founder.
Ross, Martok, and Sisko plan the space battle as Kira makes entrance into the Founder’s war room. She orders the Founder to surrender, but she won’t. Garak gets the satisfaction of killing the last Weyoun, but the Founder is holding on out of pure spite at this point. The good news is that Kira can coordinate with Sisko from here, and Odo asks to go down to negotiate a surrender.
Winn and Dukat drink some ceremonial wine over the fire caves. Dukat gets to drink it first, because it was poison. The Pah Wraiths demand a sacrifice, which is why Winn waited for him to come with her.
Cardassia is in ruins, but Odo and Kira are back together. He makes a point of being sure she trusts him before proceeding. The Founder’s holding out for more than spite, as it turns out. This is a strategic decision to discourage Alpha Quadrant forces from thinking that they can walk into the Gamma quadrant to do… well, anything. To convince her, Odo offers to link with her, to convince her and to cure her. There’s some tension, but ultimately Kira trusts Odo enough, and lets him cure the Founder.
After the Linking is over, the Founder surrenders. Even agrees to stand trial, although the condition is that Odo go back to the Gamma quadrant to cure the Link. And to rejoin it.
When Sisko agreed to drink with Martok on Cardassia, don’t think this is how he pictured it. He and Ross would have assumed a diplomatic surrender once defeat became inevitable. This is what Martok was hoping for, though – piles of the corpses of his enemies. Reminder that Sisko is a warrior, not a diplomat, although Ross should have at least made a token.
800 million Cardassians or more are dead. Garak takes a retreat into determined amusement at the poetic justice of the situation, because that’s how he copes. It’s not just a mass murder, it’s a cultural ethnocide – there’s no telling how many priceless cultural artifacts were destroyed.
The treaty is signed on Deep Space Nine. Ross quotes MacArthur, and Odo gets sent on his way. Worf has sudden new prospects as the Federation ambassador to Quo’nos – Martok’s revenge for Worf making him Chancellor. To counterpoint that, Odo doesn’t plan to come back from the Link. He’s needed there, it seems, to teach the Link about how Solids can be trustworthy. Kira will go with him.
The goodbye party is everything you’d expect. Miles getting suggestions on where to live, Quark resisting change, and Sisko toasting his crew as a stand-in for Avery Brooks toasting his comrades. There’s also the theme of leaving a bit of yourself behind on the station, which if you’re looking for more great arc-based space shows may I re-recommend Babylon 5. I digress – Vic gets to sing The Way You Look Tonight to his favorite crew too.
Of course, there’s still one thread left to wrap up – Winn summons Kosst Amojan into her, but she gets spirit-lasered in the face, and they inhabit Dukat instead and change him back into a Cardassian. This triggers Sisko, and calls him into the Fire Caves, to where Dukat cackles over Winn’s dismay. Her ambition was fierce but small – for a true enemy of the Bajoran Gods you need a vessel that’s the living embodiment of the enmity of the Bajoran people. Not sure what kind of cosmic power he’s talking about with this whole ‘set the universe in flames’ but it seems like he’s not to worried about a phaser rifle. With the power of the Pah Wraith, he has telekenesis and can take a punch that knocked down Q once upon a time.
Dukat does love to gloat, but his gloating gives Winn a chance to repent. Her last-minute betrayal earns her a vaporization, but gives Sisko the distraction he needs to tackle Dukat and the book into the fire pit. Seems like being posessed by a fire demon doesn’t actually grant you immunity. As he falls, Sisko gets one final vision – the Prophet that was his mom telling him that he won. Without the book they’re locked away forever. But Sisko isn’t going back, either.
The senior staff give Jake and Kassidy the news. Nobody’s giving up yet, although Worf sounds like he’s close. Kassidy gets a vision from the Prophets, and gets to see Sisko. He’s not quite dead, but he’s passed his test and the Prophets have Things to Teach Him, out in the Celestial Temple/Avalon/Beyond the Western Ocean. He says he’ll be back, though.
And that seems to be it, apart from the farewell montages for everyone. O’Brien finds an alamo soldier, Odo gives Kira his bucket, and Jake packs up the model house of Bajor. Odo’s trying to sneak off the station without any goodbyes, but he can’t fool Quark. For his persistence, Quark gets one of the classic Harruphs, and nothing eventful happens until Odo and Kira transport down to a promontory on a dying ocean of changelings, and Odo stepping in with style. It looks like the cure propagates outward pretty quickly, too.
Kira is now in charge of Deep Space Nine, back in her capacity as Colonel of the Bajoran Militia rather than her brief Starfleet commission. I imagine that says good things about Bajor’s progress with the Federataion. Nog gets a promotion, courtesy of Sisko, who also left his baseball. He intends to be back. That would’ve been a fine place to end it, but we also find out that while Bashir won’t take Ezri to the Alamo (that’s his thing with Miles) he’s set up the Battle of Thermopylae for them instead. And just because Odo’s gone doesn’t mean Quark will be allowed to get away with anything. He does hate change, after all.