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Star Trek Deep Space Nine: Tacking into the Wind

What though the field be lost?
All is not lost: the unconquerable Will,
And study of revenge, immortal hate,
And courage never to submit or yield.

In a thrilling episode of Deep Space Nine, the Klingon Empire struggles with what it should do in the face of overwhelming odds; our crew seeks ways to help the Resistance.

The term tacking into the wind means to veer the boat left and right against the oncoming wind, using angles and a trained sense of balance to angle the vessel precisely so as to benefit from the motion and maintain speed. Sort of like a fish does, to move against the current.

At this point in our saga, our little fish are only beginning to move, but they move in incredible ways. Here we have the Klingon Empire, decimated and arguably at one of their lowest points in decades, and here's Gowron, willing to risk it all for... vanity? Not honor, as Ezri coolly notes in one of my favorite moments for the character, and one which showed where that character might have grown. Not honor, says our Worf, who finds himself standing at a pivot point and coming full circle in terms of his relationship with Gowron. What way does he choose? In the end he chooses honor, and takes Gowron's empire away from him. With this Deep Space Nine finds itself hitting an operatic depth I only wish Game of Thrones had plumbed in its own season seven, the remaining generals, standing for the Klingon people as a whole, call Worf their leader – and Worf refuses, giving the leadership of the Empire instead to Martok, the man who fought so hard for that Empire, while working to keep as many lives as he could alive in its service, despite having no special bloodline. I can't fault Worf's choice: Martok embodies the underdog in this story, a man of immense talent in the role of coerced servant who throws off those bonds for leadership. All of this convinces me to maintain my inner conviction that Worf is the true Jedi of Deep Space Nine. A fish moving against the current, in every way.

Like Kira. Once Kira finds her moral compass, she always does what is necessary – a diamond strength clearly visible in this episode. How many occupations has it been now for her? The Cardassian... what she certainly perceived as Starfleet... The Dominion... and now the Cardassians again? The campaign, for lack of a better word, on which she goes in this episode aims to get a copy of the Breen weapon that made Dominion power so decisive. In the process Damar chooses their tentative alliance, for which we are all thankful.

Let's talk about O'Brien, Fred Colon to Bashir's Nobby Nobbs, both fighting in their own specific ways to save their dying friend – and against a great darkness growing within the Starfleet force? I love the existence of Section 31 and the complex moral issues it brings to Star Trek, and the disease Starfleet desperately unleashed on the Founders is no exception. We as viewers have been privy to the horrors of this war and occupation, and yet we're with Bashir and O'Brien when they take a stand and say something is unacceptable, there are some limits you can't breach. In the end they combine their expertise, seeking to use the new rumor of discovery to lure the spies which they most fear to save that dying friend.

And then there's the dying friend himself. Odo is next-level heroic in this episode, clearly doomed by the Federation virus, but resisting sympathy on all fronts and doing his best to hide the impact on his body. He shapeshifts, fights, berates Garak, and more. For someone so impacted by shapeshifting, he did quite a bit of it in aid of the Federation. It just makes the final gasp at the end all the more impactful. Seeing Odo the way we've been seeing the Founder was horrible; his leaf-lorn look trapped well my soul. The episode ends with one of the most heartbreaking moments for me in all of Trekdom, what with my weeping at our poor fallen protector, Odo, begging Kira Nerys to leave, not to remember him as he dies, and Kira telling him he doesn't care. Two little fish, fighting against the current.

I said the word operatic a couple of times, in this review. To me, this episode hits the notes struck by the very best operas – the characters' emotional highs and lows are played well and thoroughly, sung if you will with bell-clear emotional tones. I could really love "Tacking" – except for that heartbreaking cliffhanger. Well, I love that too.

Bits and Pieces

Ezri's now a member of the House of Martok or always was. Cool.

I find the Breen really annoying as an enemy – there just doesn't seem to be enough motivation behind them.

Twittered in the Turbolift

Garak: Odo, I hope you know how much I...
Odo: If I don't want pity from the woman I love, why would I want it from you?

Ezri: I think the situation with Gowron is part of a larger problem. The Klingon Empire is dying, and I think it deserves to die.


A powerful episode with incredible acting which brings all our storylines a little closer to the finale – and a little closer to each other. Five out of five intercooler sabotages.

1 comment:

  1. I agree, that is Ezri's best line in the season. Although she never wanted to be a joined Trill, in some ways she surpasses Jadzia - who was too strongly influenced by Curzon - in becoming her own person.
    Also, what a makeup job by the costumers in Odo's illness!
    Thanks, JRS.


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