The Way of the Warrior (****)
This was the episode that made me a Niner all those years ago. An obvious, some might say boring, choice but this was the episode that made me realise DS9 was so much more than TNG and Voyager. There was action on a scale I had never before seen on television, and that speaks quite loudly to a 10 year old boy. But it wasn't just action without meaning, this wasn't some alien-of-the-week stirring up trouble, this was the Klingons wreaking havoc, this was an episode that was clearly going to have consequences in the future. And it did. I may not have fully understood the political situation involving the Cardassians and the Dominion because I had somehow missed The Die is Cast
, but I knew that what was happening was a Big Fucking Deal™ and I wanted to join the ride and find out where the greater story was going next.
Looking back on it now it's not quite the amazing experience it was when I was younger, it's much easier to see its flaws, but it's still a very solid arc episode with tonnes of action, politics, and character moments. Watching it again, what stood out for me wasn't all the big events (although I did enjoy those) but the lighter moments between the characters. O'Brien and Bashir sit in Quark's flinging sand peas into their mouths, Odo and Garak have breakfast together (a nice follow-up to The Die is Cast
), and Jadzia and Kira have some fun in the holosuite. The best of them all is of course the legendary root-beer scene. Two great characters, both of them stuck in a political situation that they're helpless to do anything about, both forced to seek protection from an organisation they're slowly growing to respect.
Meanwhile, Worf joins the cast. Worf was hardly a necessary addition to the show, DS9 would have gotten along fine without him, but they decided they needed a ratings stunt and Worf was the stunt they decided to pull. Full credit to the show because the character slots in well enough here. Of all the characters on TNG, Worf is clearly the one most suited to DS9. He has the whole divided loyalties gimmick, he has daddy issues, he even had some respectable character development on a show not well known for it. And after watching this video
last week, it's nice that Worf is now on a show where his talents are respected.
Having the Changelings infiltrate the Klingon government in order to make them attack the Cardassians for ostensibly being infiltrated by the Changelings and thus triggering a conflict between the Federation and the Klingons is brilliant. Confusing to write, but brilliant. It ties in perfectly with The Die is Cast
where the Lovok Changeling suggests they already had plans to weaken the Federation and Klingons, and with The Adversary
where it's apparent that the Changelings are attempting to trick the AQ powers into warring with one another. The Klingon conflict does seem to detract from the Dominion threat by way of reduced screen-time (not that the Dominion were all that present in season 3), but under the surface it's all part of the same grand arc.
In the end, this episode probably did too much too quickly. So much happens in this episode that it probably would have been served better by an arc similar to the one that started season 6. The Cardassian government falls, the Klingons declare war on the Cardassians, the Federation's alliance with the Klingons breaks down, and Worf is introduced, all in a two-parter. It works, but it shakes up the status quo so violently that the rest of the season is almost a let-down for sticking to the new status quo. It's a ginormous event episode in a season that otherwise lacks them. Spreading the wealth over a couple of episodes might have been a better way of going about things.
Form of... a Seat Cover: 16
Form of... a Random Bird: 17
Form of... a Promenade Directory: 18
Sykonee's Counter: 17
Stupid French Things: 2