Tears of the Prophets (***)
After a half-season of mostly faffing about, the return of the show's major arc should probably have been cause for celebration, but Tears of the Prophets
actually makes me even more upset about all the fluff recently. This episode just tries to do too much in 45 minutes and the result is a story that feels like a collection of random events. The most random of these events, and what this episode is most famous for, is the death of Jadzia Dax. I like Jadzia, but I have no problem with the decision to kill her off. I also have no problem with her dying a pointless, unheroic, death. Sometimes great stories can come from randomly killing off characters and witnessing how the other characters react. But I have to agree with a point that was made earlier in this thread: Jadzia's death was too
random. Dying in a car crash is a tragedy. Drowning in a fast-flowing river is a tragedy. Getting stabbed during a mugging is a tragedy. Going to a temple where a demonically-possessed dictator appears and getting killed with a beam of magical fire is just weird. I feel reasonably confident in saying that nobody in all of history has ever died that way.
Meanwhile, Sisko and the admiralty that he's seemingly in charge of decide to plot out the invasion of Cardassia over a single weekend. That's the impression the episode leaves, at least. I'm fairly sure that D-Day took more planning than Churchill telling Roosevelt that he wanted to invade France Tuesday-week. At least in Favor the Bold
the planning of Operation Return took a whole episode, and they were even forced to launch that attack before it was ready. In Tears of the Prophets
, Sisko plans out the attack, convinces the Romulans to get involved, the allied fleets launch the invasion, successfully seize control of the Chin'toka system, the Defiant rushes home to DS9, and there's time enough to spare for Sisko to take the major decision to return to Earth. This is far too much material to cram into 45 minutes, and the result is a rushed episode. This should have been a two-parter at the very least, with the added advantage that it would have taken the slot of one of the pointless fluff episodes.
Still, it's not a bad episode. The formation of the alliance between the Federation, the Klingons, and the Romulans is good, although such a historic grouping deserved more than a sub-plot. The return of Damar and Weyoun hits all the right notes, and the scenes where Weyoun's mask slips completely off as the diplomatic Vorta expresses his outrage is delicious to watch. The battle footage is also really good, although I'm not a fan of the fact that they found a [tech] solution to the problem. This is DS9, not Voyager, on DS9 you're supposed to solve problems by firing endless supplies of torpedoes at things, not remodulating the deflector dish to yadda yadda.
Wormhole in Peril: 9