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Star Trek Deep Space Nine: The Changing Face of Evil

Solbor: "There is an old saying: 'He who studies evil is studied by evil.'"

By nature I love brevity: I'm inclined to say 'this is where it really gets good.' But, well, I keep thinking that after every single part of this unthinkably massive finale, and you know what? I keep being right.

There's a sense of breathless abandon that arrests DS9 at the outset of the grand finale, and it continues to build and build until the very end. It's like the feeling of being on a rollercoaster, when the clamps release and the car begins to slide forward. There's really no stopping it at this point. It's not safe anymore. And anything could happen. That's a feeling that pretty much all modern tv tries to replicate, and they succeed a lot of the time. But here it was still relatively new, and to have that start so comparatively early in the final season was unthinkable.

Here in 'The Changing Face of Evil,' we get the darkest moment yet. Evil's plans are finally starting to come into focus. But like the title suggests, evil is always changing, never solid or constant. And maybe one of those shifts will be just enough for good to step in. Solbor may be right with his old saying that 'He who studies evil is studied by evil.' But there's another old saying, this one of Earth origin: 'You become like what you worship.'

Weyoun worships the Founders. And the Founders are ever-shifting, slippery gods. They are ruthless and cunning, but most importantly, their loyalties are never firm. So Weyoun has become much the same way. As Damar points out to Thot Gor, there was a time when the Cardassians were celebrated by the Dominion as the heroes of their war effort. Now they are ignored and sacrificed as inexpensive pawns, clearly booted from the pecking order in favor of the Dominion's new toys the Breen. Salome Jens' female Founder confirms her priorities in a comment to Weyoun, that she doesn't really care what pleases the Breen, as long as they continue to win.

Of course, Damar is fed up with all the shifting and uneasy footing. He's a solid, loyal soldier at heart, and his only recourse when faced with such a nebulous and unreliable alliance was to drink away his sorrows until everything in his world wobbled and shifted the same way. But now Damar has put away the bottle and regained his confidence. Now he's prepared to stand up for the solid, firm principles he has always used to guide his life. Even if it costs everything, at least he will go down fighting for a cause he believes in.

This brings us to Dukat. Dukat worships the Pah-Wraiths. The Pah-Wraiths are gods that seem by all appearances as though they really love Bajor. But their love is a destructive love. Their love is really hatred, disguised as love. It's eerily similar to the Dukat we met at the beginning of the show, long before he had even heard of the Pah-Wraiths. Then, as now, he insisted that he loved Bajor. He truly believed, as far as he told himself, that he loved the planet and its people. But when finally pressed, in 'Waltz,' he admitted to Sisko—and himself—that he really just hated the Bajorans. Those claims that he loved them and was bringing order to them so that he could achieve what was best for them were all just justifications that he used to deny to himself the truth, that he hated them and wanted to see them burn. So it makes perfect sense that Dukat should worship the gods that feel exactly the same way about the Bajorans. I love watching Alaimo in these scenes, pretending to be a Bajoran and interacting with Kai Winn and Solbor. You can see all the layers of his facade, as he covers up his hatred with false love and covers up his disgust with false admiration. But you can hear in his voice just how much he despises the very appearance he has right now, and just how much complete disdain he has for the Kai and her people, all of them.

What's so interesting is that it's that very disdain that makes him unable to simply sit back and let things happen. Kai Winn is studying the book of the Kosst Amojan, and Solbor is reluctantly willing to serve her as she does. But Dukat needs to push for the process to move faster, to shepherd things along. Because he could never trust a Bajoran to do this work alone. And he could never rely on Winn's studies to reveal the answers he wants. So he pushes it, and that's what gets him caught.

Of course, this all leads up to the barn-burner of a final act, where the knife gets thrust in and twisted before the tide starts to show the first signs of turning. Sisko and crew are all sent on a mission to stop the Dominion from reclaiming a key system, and they are decimated by the Breen energy dissipating weapons. And, for the first time in a Star Trek show, we really, truly lose the ship. There's a credible and fully convincing argument, of course, that the station is the real 'ship' this show is about, but I digress. This loss is stunning and it comes out of nowhere. The Defiant has been a powerhouse of a little ship throughout the show, and now it's just gone.

Evil changes its face, and every time you worship evil, you will find your own face changing with it. But an ever-changing evil is an evil that can be beaten when it finally changes into something that isn't so strong or powerful after all. I think that's the idea here, and it's a good one. Gear up, folks. We're not even halfway there.

Strange New Worlds:

The Breen attack on Earth shows us a different version of the mobile painting of San Francisco we've been using for Starfleet HQ for a while now. We don't visit too many other planets, but we do learn that perhaps the Breen homeworld isn't as frigid as most people assume.

New Life and New Civilizations:

Not much is really learned about the Breen so much as speculated about them, but their mystery continues to grow as Weyoun suggests that their cryogenic suits aren't even for the purpose of keeping them at their natural temperature. I adore the mystery of the Breen.


-Morn correctly guessed the date of Worf and Dax's return, only missing the time by a couple hours. Because of course he did.

-I love the little tidbits we get here as Sisko figures out the changing nature of his relationship to Kasidy now that they're married. They both step on each other's toes here, although Sisko does it in a much more impactful and egregious way. But I like that they don't just immediately get it right. Sisko may have been married before, but it was to a different woman and it has been a long time.

-I love the way that the Alamo serves as an ominous backdrop for this final stretch. The enemy is closing in, and we are not prepared to defend against them without changing the strategy, as Dr. Bashir suggests to Miles.

-Dax and Worf casually discussing Bashir's childlike impulses and whether or not she really loves him is a much-needed breath of levity for the somber proceedings here.

-I adore the little detail that Damar has destroyed the Vorta cloning facility specifically to thumb his nose at Weyoun because he doesn't want there to ever be any more versions of him.

-Winn's descent continues, as she is the one to kill Solbor, not Dukat. I love that she's not just cartoonishly evil all of a sudden, though, nor does she just accept that she's working with Dukat. I think that 'And to think that I let you touch me' is one of my all-time favorite line readings, ever, just for the way that the disgust she feels in that moment washes over me when I hear it. Louise Fletcher is killing it as always.


Sisko: "Nobody touches my peppers."

Bashir: "I say we strengthen the South Wall, the North Wall, and any other wall that helps us keep the enemy out!"
Miles: "Well, then, it wouldn't be the Battle of the Alamo, would it?"
Bashir: "I don't care! I just want to win, once!"
Miles: "Be Santa Ana. He wins every time."

Ezri: "You're a good friend, Worf."
Worf: "I know."

Weyoun: "You've regained your confidence!"
Damar: "I wasn't aware I had ever lost it."

Worf: (about Bashir) "He plays with toys."
Ezri: "It's a model!"
Worf: "With little figures."

Sisko: "She's a fine ship."
Darn right she is.

Damar: "I call upon Cardassians everywhere. Resist today! Resist tomorrow! Resist until the last Dominion soldier has been eliminated from our soil!"

6 out of 6 lost Lt. Col. Travis figures. And somehow it just keeps getting even better.
CoramDeo will soon be able to wake up, for he is about to fall asleep.

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