DS9 still remains the greatest TV show I have ever seen in my life - bar none!
I run a twice-weekly Star Trek Club at the school where I work and we finished watching DS9 a couple of months ago. It's quite astonishing to think how old it is now because it doesn't look dated one little bit. It's as sharp and crucial and fresh-looking as any sci-fi show that's been produced since DS9 finished. I still cry at that beautiful final shot when season 7 draws to a close. The Pocket Book novels that carried the story on were also excellent.
Now, on to Dukat. I must admit that I too thought of Dukat as a bit of a 'pinball character' when I first watched the series. He's a military dictator then a put-upon soldier and family man then a freedom fighter then a coup leader then a defacto president then [spoiler]a madman then a religious zealot[/spoiler]. At the time it felt like the writers didn't really know where they wanted to take the character but it all does make a sort of sense when you look at his journey across all seven seasons. In the end, he was a fabulous character who was so well portrayed by Marc Alaimo. DS9 wouldn't have been the same without him.
As for Jake, now he was a difficult character to write for! I was glad when he stayed aboard the station when Starfleet fled as it was perfectly logical (from his own viewpoint - his assumption of safety being provided by his being the son of The Emissary) and it gave him something better to do than mixing stew in Grandpa's restaurant for the remainder of the war!
Glad you're enjoying DS9.