416. Sacrifice of Angels
FORMULA: The Siege + Call to Arms + Emissary + a can of whupass (open)
WHY WE LIKE IT: The big battle.
WHY WE DON'T: Prophet ex Machina?
REVIEW: Star Trek isn't really about huge ship battles, but they sure are cool from time to time. And this one's great! An incredible number of ships (Charge of the Light Brigade is a wonderful counterpoint), lots of new shots, detailed destruction, but best of all, a sense of strategies at work. Sisko and Dukat are locked in a chess game, trying to outwit one another more than outfight one another. And yet, that isn't the climax of the episode because the outcome will mean nothing if the mine field goes down and the Dominion reinforcements come through the Wormhole.
So really, it's up to Kira's resistance cell to free Rom and have him disarm the station so the bad guys can't take the mine field down. The breakout is one thing, soiling Quark's hands with blood for the first time (?), but the plan doesn't work without Odo's help. And they get it after the Founder miscalculates and threatens Kira's life. (I'm actually a bit surprised that I held Odo's betrayal against him for so long when it only lasted a couple episodes... I guess things are different when you're living it week to week.) In any case, it's a great moment when he shows up with his deputies, as rousing as the Klingons' belated arrival at the battle.
But while the station IS rendered defenseless, it happens a split second too late to protect the mine field. Sisko has no choice but to meet the Dominion fleet in the Wormhole where the actual climax becomes an appeal to the Prophets for them to protect Bajor. It may not be as exciting as a few hundred more explosions, but it's not like the episode hasn't served enough already, and in Trek, convincing someone of something can be just as heroic. After being called on their non-interference crap, the Prophets whisk away the fleet... in time? Has it been erased from history? Who knows. Say what you will, but it's basically God drowning Moses' pursuers in the Red Sea. An epic, spiritual climax.
And of course, there'll be a price. Sisko will never be allowed to "rest" on Bajor. Doesn't seem like much now, but we'll see. There's a cost for other characters as well. Ziyal is killed by Damar when she rejects her father one last time, and in retrospect, she's been set up for it all along, the poor innocent who never deserved it. I won't miss her, though I didn't mind her. Of course, this will inform any relationship Damar has with Kira, Garak and Dukat in the future, so it's at least interesting. Dukat doesn't just lose his daughter and his station, he loses his mind, but one could easily say he'd been on the edge for a while. His megalomania is made obvious early in the episode when he and Weyoun are discussing conqueror philosophies, and he simply cannot understand his defeat (incomprehensible to outsiders to be sure). His pathologically grandiose self-image breaks, taking his spirit with it. Price or not, the joyous reunion on the station is more sweet than bitter, fast paced but satisfying. We're back, baby!
LESSON: Praying WORKS.
REWATCHABILITY - High: A pretty exciting and satisfying end to the Taking of Terok Nor arc, with moments for everyone, impeccable effects and lasting repercussions.