385. Apocalypse Rising
FORMULA: The Enterprise Incident + The Adversary + The Way of the Warrior + The Loss
WHY WE LIKE IT: Klingon Sisko!
WHY WE DON'T: Klingon-sized plot holes.
REVIEW: To plunge into the Dominion War proper, this season premiere more or less puts an end to hostilities with the Klingons. But before it does that, it's gonna have a lot of fun. The greatest reason to rewatch this episode is that Sisko makes a great Klingon. He really gets into the role in a way that O'Brien and Odo never quite achieve (in part because their characters don't allow it, but also because they don't quite have the facial type).
Though it has its clever moments, such as getting Dukat to drive them to the impressive-looking Ty'Gokor, the "mission impossible" has the close calls and near discoveries you'd expect from such a story, but also has fun with the big Klingon party. Sisko gets revenge on a Klingon that killed one of his friends, Worf revels in the atmosphere, and Gowron is always fun to look at. But is he a Founder? The twist, of course, is that Martok is actually the changeling. There are hints (changelings would be good with faces, for example), but it's Odo (of course) who pieces it all together.
Dramatically, he HAS to be the hero in this one because his own particular arc has put him on the wrong track. Now human, he's fallen to drinking and doesn't care about his job as much as he used to. His self pity isn't pretty. The episode (and the mission) is half-designed to make him feel useful again. You figure it out with Odo because the camera cuts to his looks, but if you don't know, the Martok cover is pretty airtight. Since when has he been whispering war songs into Gowron's ear? I dare say we haven't yet seen the real Martok, and yet he's already very cool. (That double dagger move is pretty badass.)
Over at the station, Bashir is walking around basically making everyone feel better (a better counselor than any other counselor I've ever seen in Trek), but I only really mention him because of his talk with Kira. It's a big inside joke where she blames him for her pregnancy. Pretty funny considering.
Now no discussion of Apocalypse Rising would be complete without at least mentioning the various plot holes in the story. For example, why doesn't anyone recognize Worf? It's only on this viewing that I finally noticed that he'd shaven off his beard. Very Clark Kent as far as disguises go. And why doesn't Sisko press the button before his name is called? Does he really need to later brag to his friends that he was actually inducted in the Order of the Bat'leth? Never mind the fact that this particular crew is sent on the mission instead of some black ops unit.
LESSON: The changeling's not dead until you see the fireworks.
REWATCHABILITY - Medium-High: I know it's all a bit silly, but as excuses to dress up go, Apocalypse Rising is a lot of fun and a guilty pleasure of mine. Objectively, probably a Medium, but still a fun and interesting way to put the focus on the REAL enemy.