Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – Season 6, Episode 26 – “Tears of the Prophets” – Bittersweet Victories and Tackling Purpose

“Star Trek Week” continues with “Tears of the Prophets.” “Tears of the Prophets” is a great episode but not a favorite. This is a story with some great ideas and consequences but doesn’t fully explore what those exactly are. This is in Season 6 so the Dominion War is in full swing so we see what cost the war is having on our characters. Both the heroes and villains have moments to shine and the action is fantastic and an episode I recommend.

The episode was directed by Allan Kroeker and written by Ira Steven Behr and Hans Beimler.

The Federation has an opportunity to turn the tide in the Dominion War but the choice to do so may lead to unintended consequences in the War.

SPOILERS ahead

The Pros:

The Premise – The idea of a chance for a great victory for the Federation but at a cost both known and unknown is compelling. We are deep in the war and the episode doesn’t shy away from that.

The Action – The action in Chin’toka against the Dominion fleet and Cardassian orbital weapons platforms are great. We see so many ships destroyed and victory is won through intelligence and outsmarting the weapon platforms. The united fleet is shown to be needed too as Klingons, Romulans and Federation all lose ships in the battle to win.

The Defiant Crew – We got Garak onboard who expresses that not everyday one can liberate one’s own homeland. He also finds the vulnerability to the platforms as Nog is at the helm and O’Brien is the ones ro come up with the plan to trick the weapons platforms to destroy their own power source as Major Kira leads after Captain Sisko needs to leave the battle. The crew are all fantastic and Captain Sisko is great at leading the initial battle.

Weyoun and Damar – Combs’s Weyoun and Biggs’s Damar continue to be two of my favorite characters on the show and it was fun to see them in action this episode. We see Weyoun doubts about the Cardassians as allies (they were losing to the Klingons and had lost to the Federation in an earlier war so that should have always been there to some degree I’m guessing). I loved Damar doubting the Founders and continuing to try and show-up Weyoun who was consistently trying to find reasons to put him down. They really have a great dynamic and I love where their story ends up.

The Federation Alliance – We have Senator Letant and the Romulan Star Empire as the cautious party that is needed to win, General Martok who is reckless and Admiral Ross and Captain Sisko as the middle perspective of the need to win against the Dominion to stop their production of ships and soldiers. The Alliance politics are handled well and I like how Letant and Martok both get the chance to throw in some good barbs against each other as the Klingons and Romulans really do hate each other.

Gul Dukat – Alaimo continues to be amazing as Dukat as after “Waltz” he has become a Pah-Wraith cultist seeing them as his way to destroy Bajor and Captain Sisko. He clearly wielded influence still too as Weyoun and Damar both agreed to help him get the artifact and Damar still believes in him to some degree as you see Dukat as his mentor still meant something. He is very much a villain but it was the Pah-Wraith who wanted Jazdia dead not Dukat, which was an interesting touch and showed Dukat still was complex.

Jazdia Dax – This is Jazdia’s last episode and in this she has so much hope before here death as she learns her and Worf can have kids together. It is so sad that she dies and Terry Farrell owned this character so well. She captured her brains, caring, passion and drive so well and I like that Jazdia got moments with her friends through the episode before a Pah-Wraith possessed Dukat killed her. Dax does still live on though as Dr. Bashir does save the symbiont.

Captain Sisko – Avery Brooks plays a Captain conflicted so well as in this the Prophets warn him not to lead the mission to take Chin’toka. In the end he does after Admiral Ross forces him to choose though as we learn he’d been covering for Sisko being both Emissary and Starfleet Captain. Jazdia’s death breaks him though as he takes his baseball and leaves to his father’s restaurant on Earth as the Prophets have gone silent and he sees himself as the reason why.

The Cons:

Lovesick Quark and Dr. Bashir – I thought they were over this and good with being her friend. This is a writing cliche I hate and I didn’t like seeing Quark and Dr. Bashir being so immature. The hologram lounge singer Vic Fontaine was right to call them out for being clueless in the episode.

The Powerplay of the Pah-Wraiths – So Jazdia died and the Orbs stopped communicating with the Bajorans. I get this should feel bigger but it doesn’t given we just saw the Federation Alliance get deep into Cardassian and Dominion Space from the victory Captain Sisko was around for. For this reason they needed more of a win as they’ve done a lot less than the Prophets.

This is a great and flawed episode and one I highly recommend. This is the final of Season 6 and it has to accomplish a lot, most of what it does. It is really only the lovesickness plot and the Pah-Wraith consequence needing to be more that hold it back from being a favorite episode. “Deep Space Nine” is one of my favorite shows and the ideas and conflicts in this episode are a big reason why that is.

Final Score: 9 / 10 If Dr. Bashir and Quark had not been annoyingly lovesick and the Pah-Wraiths victory had done more this could have been a favorite episode. Still a great episode though.

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