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Star Trek Deep Space Nine: 'Til Death Do Us Part

Dukat: “Then this is where I'll stay, Eminence.”
Winn: “Adami.”
Dukat: “Adami. What a beautiful name.”

The course of true love – is it true love? – never runs smoothly. Also, some alliances are more dangerous than others.

Usually I save my title musings for later in my reviews, but in this episode, the title is so relevant, we’ll begin with it. Most will recognize the phrase "'Til Death Do Us Part" as a line from marriage vows, when couples pledge fidelity for the rest of their lives.

This episode focuses on three different couples, with each pair experiencing problems that could mean their futures may not be that smooth.

There’s Ben Sisko and Kasidy Yates. They’re planning to marry; Bajor is rejoicing that the Emissary is taking a wife! It should be a cause for unmitigated celebration. Even Kai Winn comes up to the station to make it clear that she will officiate on this joyous occasion. Not only is this a typical Kai Winn move – and in a way she’s right, the Emissary should be married by the Kai – but it’s a perfect reason to bring her up to the station, which is important for other reasons.

However, in all TV weddings, there’s a snag, and in this case, the Prophets don’t want Captain Sisko to marry Kasidy. He starts getting warnings from his mother-Prophet, telling him he must walk his path alone and that the marriage will lead to nothing but sorrow. I have never liked this bit very much, in part because I have never been too keen on Sarah Prophet. The warnings get Ben to call off the wedding; this devastates Kasidy and Jake. It even upsets Quark, who as a bartender has probably listened to many guys drown their unhappy love affairs in drink. The Ferengi gives Ben his best advice; Ben defies the Prophets and marries Kasidy anyway, in a way snubbing both the Prophets and Bajor. The Bajorans don’t make a fuss about it because they accept the Emissary may do anything he wants (besides, there’s a war on, and he is a peculiar human). The only exception is Colonel Kira, because she knows the Prophets are against the marriage.

Still, we can’t help but be concerned. The Prophets are outside of time, so they may actually know something. Or maybe they don't; they're not infallible – maybe Sarah Prophet is jealous of her son’s being attached to another woman; or maybe as Sarah Prophet did not choose to stay married, she doesn’t think Ben should either. Anyway, the consequences are to be determined, if this is your first time through.

Let’s move on to couple number two. Ezri and Worf hooked up while in the wilderness, but now they are prisoners of the Breen. Their situation is certainly perilous and death could easily take them.

The problem: death has already separated them. Ezri may have Jadzia’s memories and be influenced by them, but she is not Jadzia. This is not simply the problem of violating the Trill taboo by rejoining with Worf, but the fact that she is no longer the same person. Worf is trying to accept her as Jadzia, but, again, Ezri is not Jadzia. In fact, she is dreaming about Julian, saying she loves him, much to Worf’s disappointment.

They would fight and go their separate ways, but they can’t, because they are prisoners of the Breen. And getting tortured. So they are forced to work through their troubles.

Still, if this were not a TV series, this couple would probably be parted by death really soon.

The most interesting and creepiest relationship is Gul Dukat’s seduction of Kai Winn, with a large assist from the Pah Wraiths (unlike the Prophets, they are eager matchmakers). Winn and Dukat don’t seem about to kill each other but Dukat cannot have any good will toward Bajor and Kai Winn, for all her faults, loathes the Cardassians.

Kai Winn’s situation is sad. Her entire life, she has wanted to be chosen by the Prophets, but instead her vision is with the Pah Wraiths (who are similar as they are apparently the same species, or at least close enough). I expect the Prophets always knew the Pah Wraiths would recruit Winn Adami and that’s why they have ignored her.

Then there is another connection, not of the lovebird variety, but the alliance between Cardassia and the Dominion. Damar is increasingly unhappy with the relationship, both for himself and for his people, and for good reason, as Cardassia is suffering desperately. Damar drowns his depression in kanar and debaucherie. Strangely – or not so strangely – Damar gets inspired by Dukat, who tells himself to pull himself together. This is one of the few moments in the series when I kind of like Dukat.

Nevertheless, Cardassia is yoked to the Dominion, and I don’t see how it can end well, especially as the Dominion is making a new alliance with the Breen.

Bits and pieces

The Sisko / Yates romance feels dated to me. It may be because more than two decades have passed and because times have changed. There used to be so much pressure on women to get married – it determined a lot of our status in society – and when I was younger, I felt that pressure. Perhaps I have changed more than society has. Still, I have the sense that Kasidy is marrying “up” – Sisko is the station captain and the Emissary. Still, I like Penny Johnson in this role.

Kai Winn doesn't get to perform the wedding. Instead, the ceremony is performed by Admiral Ross. The fact that it is so impromptu saves not just on time, but on the budget.

The Trill taboo of getting back together with a previous lover is treated much more seriously in the episode "Rejoined." Maybe that’s because it involved two symbionts. Or maybe Ezri doesn’t care because no one from Trill can see her.

Poor Damar is being kept in the dark by both Weyoun and Dukat.

I love the fact that we know so little about the Breen.

Today’s facial recognition software would probably figure out that Anjohl is Gul Dukat; what would the software of Deep Space Nine be able to do? Also, what about gait recognition software? Marc Alaimo’s walk is so distinctive!


Jake: Did they tell you why you can't marry Kasidy?
Sisko: The Prophets didn't say that I can't, they just said that I shouldn't.
Jake: It's the same thing. I don't see why it's any of their business.
Sisko: Everything I do is their business.

Winn: I'm so happy for you. This wedding is a momentous event for Bajor. I want to be sure the proceedings reflect its importance, so I've come to assist in the preparations.
Sisko: That's very kind of you, but I'm not sure that it's necessary.
Winn: Well, you don't have to thank me. I'm glad to do it. I understand you've asked Vedek Telna to perform the ceremony. Perhaps you thought I would be unavailable, but since I'm here, I think you'll agree that it would be more appropriate for me to do it. I'll talk to Vedek Telna, and I'm sure he'd be willing to step aside.

Dukat: What happened to that brave officer I served with? The one who stood at my side while we fought the entire Klingon Empire with a single ship?
Damar: Those were simpler times.
Dukat: Those days might be gone, but the man I served with isn't. He's still within you. Reach in and grab hold of him, Damar. Cardassia needs a leader.

Sisko: Kasidy, I love you and I want to be with you.
Kasidy: Then be with me, Ben.

Worf: A Klingon would rather die than be held captive!
Ezri: What are you going to do? Kill yourself and leave me here alone?
Worf: This is no time for your jokes!
Ezri: It's no time for Klingon chest-thumping either.

Dukat: There are times when I wonder if he truly understands our people. Still, it's not for me to question why the Prophets chose him as their Emissary.
Winn: You forget the Prophets chose you to be my guide. You must speak your mind freely, Anjohl.
Dukat: The Emissary didn't suffer through the occupation. He has no idea what the Cardassians did to us. Those years left many scars on Bajor's soul. So, how can he help heal what he could never comprehend?
Winn: I have often asked myself the same question.

Quark: Terellian diamonds aren't that easy to come by, especially with this war on. Needless to say, it was non-refundable.
Sisko: Thank you, Quark.
Quark: It seems a shame to let something so beautiful go to waste.

Weyoun: You're witnessing an historic moment. The birth of the alliance between the Dominion and the Breen. Changes everything, doesn't it?

Overall rating

Great story, although some parts don’t hold up as well with time, and the Prophets "don’t approve of this marriage is such an old trope." Three and a half out of four Terellian diamonds.

Victoria Grossack loves math, birds, Greek mythology, Jane Austen and great storytelling in many forms.

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