JThe ending. Yes. Bad idea, that. Actually, it's not just the ending, the entire fictional DS9-based plot feels a little off.
(sighs) That was the whole point
, and even with foreknowledge of this episode (watching it again), I think it rather masterfully conveyed the feeling that something just isn't right here...
I dunno why but I always have weird feelings for this episode but in a good way. You know the writers/producers could have taken a different path but it wouldn't have been as good. Question is why is this episode so good?
1. Conveys a very nice sense of wrongness and urgency; it makes the viewer (your obsessed Trekkie that is) wonder what the hell is going on here? There have been many Star Trek episodes where things go strange but The Search, part 2
pulls this off masterfully with the high stakes (both real and imaginary) and interlinked plots at the end.
2. Deux-es machina ending. Really the ending is very clever, and the tie-in between Odo's exploration of himself and Sisko and the others finding out what is really going on, is the perfect way to reveal who the Founders really are. The ending shows just how clever and devious the Founders are, but also makes them out to be not just any old threat. The feeling that the Founders get to places, subvert things and manipulate things to their own advantage is a very powerful one.
3. The Founders. Nice little twist, at first the Founders were thought to be the Vorta, but Odo's people were, and the scene where Odo discovers the truth is very powerful. In fact it is probably the most defining moment of Odo's character, where he really follows his principles. Plus Odo is one of the stronger characters, so this episode worked wonders on him.
To sum up I would say the second part is a bit stronger than the first part simply for a) discovering more about Odo's people, b) a clever plot and c) a few character defining moments (take for instance Sisko coming to the realization that peace is not the answer and more drastic measures are necessary). Not only that this episode is very un-TNGish because all that stuff about peace and what Picard so loves isn't really the solution here (I mean would Picard have agreed to the Dominion terms for a peace treaty? I get the feeling he would because he would be fooled by the Dominion's premise for peace when really it is domination. Whereas Sisko is a lot more pragmatic about all of this and prefers to see the bigger strategic picture).
This episode gives a lot of food for thought and I still feel that episodes that make you really
think are either good or very good episodes. So personally I think this episode should have been given a four star rating. Every time I've watched this episode I never felt the ending was cheap or convenient. Besides the reason for the Founders to subject Sisko and the others to this false reality seemed quite plausible to me, and was just another way for the Founders to test their opponents strength and will without revealing any of their (Founders/Dominion) strength and advantages.
Seriously guys, this episode is a good one because it really explores the Founder's mindset when you start to really
think about it.