Star Trek Guide

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - Episode Guide - Season 7

The greatest strength of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is also its greatest weakness. As with no other Star Trek season to date (and in fact very *very* few American TV shows in the 1990s at all), season 7’s scripts were consciously devoted to a single narrative – but when Star Trek Guide says “single narrative”, this in no way means a single story or plotline. Rather, Deep Space Nine season 7 is devoted to wrapping up literally dozens of storylines unfolded against a pastiche of a staggeringly huge pantheon of characters.

The effect of season 7 on the Star Trek, Deep Space Nine and/or binge-watching fan is one of addictiveness and giddy pleasure aplenty. For the uninitiated viewer, most of these episodes would be nigh-incomprehensible and are really only watchable as part of the series; by the 2010s, perhaps this over-reliance on continuity is to be expected. However, The Original Series, Next Generation and Voyager are most fondly recalled for their single- or double-episodes which could almost stand alone as bits of a science-fiction anthology series. None of Deep Space Nine series 7 works as such.

Because of the heavy continuity-reliant aspect of DS9 season 7, these episodes also suffer from a lack of re-watchability. Star Trek Guide would give only the final two episodes high marks in this regard; otherwise, a rewatch will probably lead to ripping through all 26 episodes as rapidly as time allows. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

1. Image in the Sand – Three months later. Entrance to the wormhole has been cut off from the insie, cultists are ever more prominent in Bajoran society and on the station, the Dax symbiote inhabits a new humanoid body and Benjamin Sisko has strange visions compelling him to fulfill his role as “Emissary” again… ***

2. Shadows and Symbols – Multiple plots continue to fly about: Sisko continues in his personal quest alongside the new incarnation of Dax; Kira and Odo arrange a blockade to thwart the ships of the “predictably treacherous” Romulans; and the odd bunch of remaining major characters engage on an espionage mission to destroy a Dominion shipyard. ***

3. Afterimage – Ezri Dax has trouble fighting in with the DS9 lot until re-finding her niche as a counselor, aiding Garak’s newfound inexplicable panic attacks. ***

4. Take Me Out to the Holosuite – The only ST episode in which the “holo” of holodeck technology appears in the title. Sisko accepts a challenge from a former Vulcan associate to put together a baseball nine to play a game. While baseball fans will certainly agree that baseball would absolutely appeal to the Vulcans, you gotta wonder about Nog playing catcher; also, why does Sisko come off as a big Little League parent type…? A mixed bag for baseball/ST fans. ***

5. Chrysalis – Bashir’s genetically altered peers return, with a comatose comrade in tow. Bashir cures her, falls in love with her, and … yeah, you know this isn’t going to end particularly well. ***

6. Treachery, Faith and the Great River – The latest clone in the Weyoun line is a real weirdo, as he proves to have scruples and ultimately trades information for asylum within the Federation. In a subplot, Nog flexes his old Ferengi bartering skills to procure some hardware for O’Brien. ***

7. Once More unto the Breach – Alternatively, “Kor’s Last Hurrah.” The Klingon general who’s been a thorn in the sides of the Federation and a buddy to Dax lusts for battle, but is blocked by the grudge-holding General Martok. After moping around for much of the episode, Kor finally gets his blaze of glory in a suicide mission against the Jem’Hadar. ***

8. The Siege of AR-558 – AR-558 denotes a communications array once used by the Dominion, but now in Federation hands. Unfortunately, the Jem’Hadar have launched a massive attack on the array. Sisko and a team join the battle. ***

9. Covenant – Dukat has risen to lead a cult of Pah-Wraith worshippers, and Kira gets to witness the inner goings-on of the group on Bajor. ***

10. It's Only a Paper Moon – Definitely the oddest of odd couples ever paired in the entire Star Trek franchise: Nog and the lounge lizard hologram Vic Fontaine. After losing a leg in “The Siege of AR-558” and undergoing counseling, Nog decides his best course of action would be to live in Vic’s apartment in a holosuite 1960s Las Vegas. (Sheesh, how good can Ezri Dax’s counseling be if escapism gets the psychological heavy-lifting done with greater efficacy?) ***

11. Prodigal Daughter – O’Brien disappears while conducting a, likesay, private investigation into the disappearance of a friend. Luckily, Ezri has contacts on New Sydney, the planet to which O’Brien went. ***

12. The Emperor's New Cloak – Has Star Trek Guide already claimed the “mirror universe” concept had been stretched to its fullest extent? Not quite, as it turns out! Grand Nagus Zek is taken prison in the alternate universe, lured there in the first place by (what else?) the potential to exploit an entire galaxy for profit. Quark and Rom set out to rescue Zek. ***

13. Field of Fire – Kinida like DS9’s version of Silence of the Lambs: When a serial killer begins running amok aboard Deep Space Nine, it’s Dax’s previous homicidal incarnation Joran (or rather his accumulated memories and stored personality) to the rescue! ***

14. Chimera – A changeling named Laas senses Odo’s presence and appeals to him to join him on a search for more changelings in the Alpha Quadrant. While Odo dithers about the offer, Laas shows his disregard for “solids” by acquiring the hobby of carving up Klingons. ***

15. Badda-Bing Badda-Bang – The DS9 crew bands together to help … Vic Fontaine?!?!? Seriously? Isn’t the, likesay, *war between the Federation and Cardassia* still going on…? *

16. Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges – The clandestine intelligence organization Section 31 has a little job for Dr. Bashir to do at the medical conference he’ll soon be attending … and it involves Romulans. ***

17. Penumbra – Of all the story arcs undertaken in Star Trek, “Penumbra” begins the longest until Enterprise season 3: A nine-episode story arc that concludes virtually every plot point and character arc begun in some cases seven years prior. It all starts when Worf goes missing after a battle and Dax begins a manhunt. ***

18. ‘Til Death Do Us Part – Would you believe a DS9 officer type is tortured and it’s not O’Brien? Indeed, Worf and Ezri undergo the mental iron maiden after the latter’s poor rescue attempt. ***

19. Strange Bedfellows - Amidst all the tidying up going on storyline-wise is the cruel introduction of the Breen, a faschinating bunch of which we ultimately learn next to nothing. After a few episodes of posturing, here they decide to team with the Dominion, thereby supplying that group with a military force in the Alpha Quadrant. Meanwhile, Worf and Ezri are sentenced to death. ***

20. The Changing Face of Evil – Several last-minute storylines progress The Dominion and the Breen roll back some Federation gains; said baddies also attack Earth; Dukat seeks to release the Pah-Wratihs from the wormhole; the Bajoran revolt against the Cardassians finally gains steam; and Sisko leads the Defiant into a dogfight himself. ***

21. When It Rains... – Chancellor Gowron, who must be one of the longest-serving Klingon leaders of all-time, arrives at Deep Space Nine both to bestow an award upon General Martok and to take command of Klingon forces fighting in the Dominion War. Meanwhile, Bashir discovers that Odo has the same terminal disease that’s wiping out changelings in the Gamma Quadrant. Bonus points here for delivering one of the hardest core comeuppances in the Dukat subpot in any series ever. ****

22. Tacking Into the Wind – The machinations fly fast and furious, and changes ultimately come to the leadership of both Cardassia and the Klingon Empire. ***

23. Extreme Measures – Bashir and O’Brien seek to confront the genocidal conspiracy within the Federation, and ultimately literally experience a head trip. A nice twist in this one. ***

24. The Dogs of War – And just in case you thought the DS9 creative team had pitched Quark and his buddies aside for the serious matter of war, here’s a final Ferengi-centric episode. Grand Nagus Zek is set to retire and seeks to name Quark his successor – except Quark really should know better by now about deals involving the Nagus… ***

25-26. What You Leave Behind – Somehow, DS9 manages to neatly tie everything up (well, except for the whole Breen thing) in exciting and elegant fashion. A space battle that makes Wolf 359 look like The Enterprise Incident is at center, with Federation, Klingon and Romulan ships taken on Jem’Hadar, Breen and Cardassians. Though Sisko’s final fate is a bit controversial (Avery Brooks himself had some issues with the implications of his character’s departure), but dramatically makes all the sense in the world. Just observe that last shot of Jake and compare it with the cold open of the series-opening “Emissary.” Satisfying and beautiful. ****