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Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

Paramount Studios presents
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine—The Complete Fifth Season (1996-1997)

"We may never see each other again."
- Dax (Terry Farrell)

Review By: Matt Peterson  
Published: February 11, 2004

Stars: Avery Brooks, Rene Auberjonois, Colm Meaney, Nana Visitor, Alexander Siddig, Terry Farrell, Armin Shimerman, Michael Dorn, Cirroc Lofton
Other Stars: Marc Alaimo, Robert O'Reilly, J.G. Hertzler, Mary Kay Adams, Max Grodenchik, Rosalind Chao, Charlie Brill, Jack Blessing, James W. Jansen, Vanessa Williams, Chase Masterson, Andrew J. Robinson, Aron Eisenberg, Penny Johnson, Louise Fletcher, Duncan Regehr, Kenneth Marshall, Melanie Smith, Robert Picardo, Wallace Shawn, Jeffrey Combs, Gary Frank
Director: Various

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for violence, mild language
Run Time: 19h:41m:00s
Release Date: October 07, 2003
UPC: 097360589641
Genre: television


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A+ A+AA B

DVD Review

I'm happy to be finishing up these reviews for Jeff Rosado, who laid some superb groundwork with his looks at Seasons 1-4 of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. DS9 is certainly one of the best post-original Trek series yet made. Second only to The Next Generation in my book, DS9 had one of the best ensemble casts ever assembled for television. These were great actors that etched out well-defined, likable characters with distinct interpersonal relationships among one another, which led to poignant moments and outrageous humor. Characters evolved and grew, unlike the later Voyager, whose characters remained quite stagnant over its seven year run. Also, DS9 managed to maintain a fine balance between epic, adventurous stories (and later, story arcs), and episodes that really define Star Trek: those that explore grand ideas, or relevant moral issues. Many episodes combined these qualities with great success.

As Season 5 begins, we find the Federation still at war with the Klingons, who are trying to secure the Alpha quadrant with the vain hope of making it safer against the impending Dominion threat. Comedy has returned, Worf has firmly found his place among the crew, and the show continues it successful streak of solid episodes, laying the groundwork for one of the most thrilling story arcs sci-fi has ever seen (stay tuned for Season 6!).

Note: Most of these episodes simply excel and stand as some of the best sci-fi ever made for television. However, I have decided to reserve the rating of "5 stations" for only the very best of the season.

Let's power up the warp core, and take a look at what this season has to offer:

Disc One:

Episode 1: Apocalypse Rising
Stardate: Unknown

"Glory to you...and your house." -Gowron

After Odo's transformation into a humanoid, he is left to cope with his newfound identity. Meanwhile, Odo's previous suspicions that Gowron, leader of the Klingon High Council, is a changeling have caught the Federation's attention. Sisko, Odo, Worf, and O'Brien are sent to the Klingon homeworld disguised as—what else—Klingons to expose Gowron and thwart the Dominion's plan to pit the forces of the Alpha quadrant against one another, making the region ripe for conquest. With the help of Gul Dukat's (Marc Alaimo) captured Klingon vessel, the disguised band enters the Klingon capital, but things are not what they seem. This is a fun homage to the original series' The Enterprise Incident with some great humor, genuine suspense and a surprise ending. As always, Robert O'Reilly gives another classic, eye-bulging performance as Gowron. A solid kickoff.

Sisko will miss those fangs, though. 3.5 stations:





Episode 2: The Ship
Stardate: 50049.3

Vorta: Do you have any Gods, Captain Sisko?
Sisko: There are things I believe in.

While Sisko, Worf, Dax, O'Brien, and some red shirts evaluate a remote planet for mining potential (a bit mundane for such an illustrious crew), a lone Jem'Hadar warship crashes nearby, leaving no survivors. The wreck is quickly claimed by Sisko, but the Jem'Hadar return and won't give up the ship without a fight. However, their cunning Vorta leader is unwilling to destroy the vessel, implying there is something important on board. Redshirts die, mistrust is rampant, and the crew must hold out against all odds and wait for the Defiant to rescue them. A decent action-oriented ride, The Ship shines at the end, where the substance of the episode is revealed. A fine requiem for crewmen lost, preceded by some poignant remarks between Sisko and the Vorta makes this worthwhile, but the episode remains a weaker entry.

Beam in 2.5 stations:





Episode 3: Looking for par'Mach in All the Wrong Places
Stardate: Unknown

"What does a Klingon woman expect from a man? Are there any secret Klingon phrases I should know, or do we just leap on each other like a couple of crazed voles?" -Quark

Worf is smitten by Grilka (Mary Kay Adams), a Klingon visitor to DS9 taking advantage of the recent cease-fire between the Federation and the Klingons. Much to his chagrin, he learns that she is Quark's ex-wife, and the Ferengi wishes to pursue her again, with the help of Worf and Dax. Worf agrees, becoming Quark's Cyrano. In the process, unexpected romances are forged, most notably between Dax and Worf. Meanwhile, O'Brien must deal with the tension between himself and the pregnant Kira, who is acting as a surrogate for O'Brien and Keiko's baby. DS9 truly shines in episodes where relationships between distinct characters are front and center. This is a great comedic episode that explores Klingon love rituals, creating some classic moments between Quark and the disgruntled Worf.

We also learn the Defiant bridge is a great place to listen to Klingon opera. 4.5 stations:





Episode 4: Nor the Battle to the Strong
Stardate: Unknown

"All you can think about is getting away from the explosions." -Jake

Jake is assigned to write his first story: A profile on Dr. Bashir. The two are traveling via Runabout to DS9. While Jake tries to cull a story from inordinate amounts of medical techno-babble, the duo receives a distress call from a Federation outpost being attacked by the Klingons, who have recently broken the cease-fire. Jake is excited to be embarking on a journey that will give him a story of "life and death," but he is unprepared for the horrors of war he witnesses at the outpost triage facility. Marked by an outstanding performance by Cirroc Lofton as Jake, Nor the Battle to the Strong is a powerful exploration of the thin line between courage and cowardice.

4 stations:





Disc Two:

Episode 5: The Assignment
Stardate: Unknown

Dax: Did you enjoy your birthday?
O'Brien: It was full of surprises.

Chief O'Brien's wife Keiko (Rosalind Chao) returns to DS9 for her husband's birthday after a botanical trip to Bajor's fire caves. She has been possessed by a Pah'Wraith, a Bajoran equivalent to a demon, and forces her husband to begin making modifications to the station's systems for an unknown reason. The Wraith holds the Chief hostage, claiming it will kill Keiko if he does not follow her instructions, which includes keeping the possession of Keiko a secret. Meanwhile, Rom is becoming accustomed to his new maintenance job, even though Quark disapproves. O'Brien enlists the aid of the surprisingly efficient Rom, who sees through the Wraith's destructive agenda. A fine suspense-oriented episode with a good performance by Rosalind Chao as Keiko. The Assignment's best scenes are the bookend conversations between Quark and the likable Rom, played with awkward charm by the talented Max Grodenchik.

Thanks to Rom's enjoyment of O'Brien's breakfast of choice, this gets 3.5 stations:





Episode 6: Trials and Tribble-ations
Stardate: Unknown

Dax: He's so much more handsome in person. Those eyes.
Sisko: Kirk did have quite the reputation as a ladies' man.
Dax: "Not him. Spock."

The ultimate crossover episode! Sisko is visited by Dulmer (James Blessing) and Lucsly (James W. Jamsen) (scrambled names of two other famous agents from The X-Files) from Temporal Investigations to explain a recent incident. After recovering the Orb of Time from Cardassia, the Defiant takes on another passenger: Arne Darvin, an exposed Klingon spy who has long ago been surgically modified to look human. Darvin uses the Orb to throw the Defiant back in time. On the bridge, an amazing sight materializes on the viewscreen: the original Enterprise. Darvin has traveled back in time to take revenge on Captain Kirk, who exposed him with a frightened tribble (tribbles hate Klingons and squeal whenever one is near) on Space Station K-7 those many years ago. Once the crew of the Defiant learns this, they don the classic uniforms (Dax pulls this off extremely well) and send parties to K-7 and Kirk's vessel, attempting to foil Darvin's assassination plans. Cutting edge special effects were used to "Forrest Gump " the DS9 crew members into shots from the most popular original series episode The Trouble With Tribbles. Combined with gorgeous new shots of the original Enterprise and K-7, rebuilt sets, some 60s hairdos and a photographic style that seamlessly blends new shots with the original episode, this is a pure visual feast. It's simply fantastic to see our favorite DS9 characters interacting with original crew members circa 1966, including Leonard Nimoy and of course, William Shatner. Definitely one of the funniest and most entertaining episodes of Trek ever made.

Even though Worf never quite explains how Klingons got their head ridges, this is an easy 5 stations:





Episode 7: Let He Who Is Without Sin...
Stardate: Unknown

"All I know is I've spent lifetimes defending the Federation, and I deserve a vacation every now and then." -Dax

Worf and Dax are unexpectedly joined by Quark, Bashir and Leeta (Chase Masterson) on what was supposed to be a romantic trip for two to the Federation pleasure planet, Risa. While Dax tries to loosen up the jealous and tradition bound Worf, the Klingon becomes caught up in a revolutionary group bent on destroying the paradise. They claim the hedonism promoted by the planet is making the Federation weak and vulnerable. Worf's sympathy toward the group seems reasonable, but his decision to literally join and carry out actions against Risa seems out of character. Still, this is another entertaining, comedic bout on the planet made famous during The Next Generation. It tries to explore ideas of self-control, trust and the dangers of excess, without forgetting the importance of enjoying life. Entertaining character moments abound, and we even get a surprise guest appearance from Vanessa Williams, playing Dax's Risian friend. Continuing the Paramount school of directors, this outing was directed by Rene "Odo" Auberjonois.

Bring your Horga'hn for this one, which earns 3 stations:





Episode 8: Things Past
Stardate: Unknown

"It never occurred to me that I would fail, but i did." -Odo

After attending a conference on the Cardassian occupation of Bajor, Sisko, Garak (Andrew J. Robinson), Odo and Dax find themselves on Terok Nor, or DS9 during the occupation. Somehow, they have assumed the identities of three innocent Bajorans who were killed for attempting to execute Gul Dukat. Before the execution happens again, they must discover what is taking place and how to get out of it. The Terok Nor episodes show the series at its very darkest. Even though this is an important glimpse at the history of the station and the character of Odo, the intentional similarities to the Nazi occupation of Europe make them rather disturbing, and rightfully so. Directed by LeVar "Geordi" Burton, this episode has a nice, Shakespearean theatrical style, but the setup seems like too forced of a vehicle to explore the skeletons in Odo's closet.Still, 3.5 stations:





Disc Three:

Episode 9: Ascent
Stardate: Unknown

Odo: What do you hate?
Quark: You!

As Odo escorts Quark to a Federation tribunal regarding the Ferengi's involvement in the Orion Syndicate, they encounter a snag: A bomb planted on the runabout explodes, forcing them to crash on a freezing planet. They must work together to take a short range transmitter to higher ground—the only location from which it can transmit into space. Meanwhile, Nog (Aron Eisenberg) has returned to DS9 to continue his Starfleet Academy training. He moves in with his best friend Jake, who just moved out of his father's quarters. Of course, tendencies collide, and conflict erupts. This is a very uninspired, clich? filled episode. First, we find Quark and Odo in the standard "being stranded brings enemies closer through hardship" formula. There is some nice comedy here, but it falls flat. Next, whenever two best friends move in together, you know trouble is on the way. Entertaining, but ultimately lacking.

More DS9 menu selections: Rom is a fan of snail juice, with extra shells. 2.5 stations:





Episode 10: Rapture
Stardate: Unknown

"The Prophets chose well when they made you their Emissary." -Kira

As Bajor prepares to be admitted into the Federation, Sisko becomes obsessed with the ancient Bajoran city of B'hala, lost for over 20,000 years. Through extensive holosuite studies, and a series of intense visions from the Prophets (instigated by an explosion on the holosuite), he finds the lost city in a matter of days. However, the visions continue and intensify, revealing future threats and forcing Sisko to halt the acceptance of Bajor into the Federation, claiming that doing so will mean the planet's ruin. Nurse Ratchet, er, I mean Kai Winn (Louise Fletcher) comes to his spiritual aid, helping him focus his visions through the Orb of Prophecy. When the visions threaten his career and his life, Jake and Cassidy (Penny Johnson) must decide between respecting Sisko's wishes as the Emissary of Bajor, and saving his life. Rapture is a powerful meditation on faith, doubt, science and religion. Aside from exploring these important issues, it has great significance to the future of DS9, hinting at the Dominion threat to come, and the ultimate role Sisko will play as the Emissary. Also, the crew gets the fancy, new gray shouldered uniforms, first seen in Star Trek: First Contact.

A groundbreaking harbinger of the future and a powerful message garner a 5 station rating:





Episode 11: The Darkness and the Light
Stardate: 50416.2

"That's what makes you a murderer—indiscriminate killing, no sense of morality, no thought given to the consequences of your action." -Silaran Prin

During the Cardassian occupation of Bajor, Major Kira was a member of the resistance and carried out several violent operations against their oppressors. As former members of her resistance cell are being systematically assassinated, it seems clear someone is out for revenge. Kira must find the attacker, whose actions force her to question the morality of her countless missions those many years ago. Featuring a fine performance by Nana Visitor, the story is filled with suspense, mystery and intrigue. Most importantly, it dissects the morality of killing during war, and the inherent collateral damage that follows.

A dark episode that further proves this series' limitless scope. 4 stations:





Episode 12: The Begotton
Stardate: Unknown

"You didn't know what I was. You were experimenting on what looked like a lump of organic residue. That's what I'd still be if it weren't for you."-Odo

This is one of the season's best. Quark sells Odo a recently acquired rarity: A baby changeling, barely alive. Odo takes it under his wing, nurturing it and promising to do things differently than the scientist who raised him, the Bajoran Dr. Mora. He begins with simply talking to the puddle of goo, then teaching it shapes. Before long, Dr. Mora arrives to assist, to the objection of Odo, who does not want the doctor to resume the uncomfortable "tests" Odo had to endure in his lab. The two begin at odds, then realize they are both parents, looking out for their respective offspring. The changeling suddenly grows ill, and gives Odo one final gift. Meanwhile, Kira gives birth to the O'Brien's baby. DS9's answer to TNG's The Offspring, The Begotton addresses the complexities of parenting, death, life, birth and rebirth. Featuring a powerful performance by Rene Auberjonois, this is another emotional, life-affirming entry into the Trek canon.

We're on a roll. 5 stations:





Disc Four:

Episode 13: For the Uniform
Stardate: 50485.2

"Good hunting. " -Sisko

Sisko is once again on the trail of Michael Eddington (Kenneth Marshall), the former DS9 security chief who betrayed the Captain and joined the Maquis, a band of revolutionaries who seek to bring violent retribution to the Cardassians that drove them from their homes along the DMZ. The hunt turns into an elaborate cat and mouse game. Sisko is repeatedly bested by the cunning Eddington, whose ambitions resemble those of Robin Hood, although his means are far more extreme. After Eddington attacks a Federation starship and begins poisoning the atmosphere of several Cardassian colonies, Sisko must risk his career to bring him down. Utilizing some fine literary references from Victor Hugo's Les Miserables, the witty competition between Sisko and Eddington makes this episode a winner. When Sisko puts aside his need to beat the crafty Maquis leader and begins to look at the psychology of the situation, things begin to make sense.

A great ride. 4 stations:





Episode 14: In Purgatory's Shadow
Stardate: Unknown

"The answer is out there, Commander. We just have to have the courage to find it." -Garak

The plot thickens! Garak receives a message from his former mentor, Enabran Tain (Paul Dooley), who has been missing the Gamma quadrant. With Worf's help, Garak tracks down the Cardassian's message, only to be captured by a Dominion invasion fleet and placed in an asteroid based internment camp. In the camp, Worf and Garak make a startling discovery: Dr. Bashir has been imprisoned there for three months, meaning a changeling is masquerading as the good doctor aboard DS9! General Martok (J.G. Hertzler), a prominent Klingon leader, is also at the camp. After a touching moment between Tain and Garak, the great escape begins, utilizing a transmitter hidden in the wall. Garak must overcome his claustrophobia and retune it to activate the transporter on the runabout, which is orbiting the camp. Meanwhile, Worf is forced to fight countless Jem'Hadar soldiers for their amusement. Back at DS9, a garbled message from Worf is received: A Dominion invasion is imminent. The only option to prevent war is to seal off the wormhole, but Bashir's doppelganger interferes, and the fleet slips through. This is great opening to a two part story with a staggering cliffhanger. DS9's adventure mode kicks into high gear, but does not sacrifice the substance that we have come to love.

Luckily, we don't have to wait a week for the conclusion! 4.5 stations:





Episode 15: By Inferno's Light
Stardate: 50485.2

"All that we have lost will be ours again." -Gul Dukat

Part two begins with another stunning revelation: The Cardassians, led by the ever deceptive Gul Dukat, have joined the Dominion. The Dominion fleet turns away from DS9 and Bajor, and heads for Cardassia. Federation, Klingon and Romulan vessels amass at the station, preparing for the coming battle. However, the Dominion has different plans. The Bashir changeling is about to execute a devious scheme that could mean the downfall of the Alpha Quadrant. Back at the camp, the escape of Worf, Bashir, Garak and Martok continues, only to be met by suspicious guards and close calls. Do I need to tell you what happens? Sure enough, they succeed and Garak returns to his beloved friend Ziyal (Melanie Smith, playing Dukat's daughter), who has stayed aboard DS9 despite her father's wishes. Andrew J. Robinson delivers another first rate performance as Garak. This is an important two-parter that sets up the epic events to come. Although the ending seems like a bit of a cop out, it is necessary for things to continue.

I love story arcs! Round up another 4.5 stations:





Episode 16: Doctor Bashir, I Presume
Stardate: Unknown

"I will make you immortal." -Dr. Zimmerman (Robert Picardo)

When Dr. Zimmerman, creator of the illustrious Emergency Medical Hologram (a main character on Voyager) wishes to use Dr. Bashir as the model for a new long-term holographic doctor, Bashir is immediately honored. When Zimmerman begins to pry into every aspect of his background (in an effort to create the most realistic facsimile), Bashir's parents come to the station to be interviewed, against Bashir's wishes. There is a "secret" in his past that could cost him his career if his parents are not careful. This may call into question the validity of his position as DS9's doctor and the morality of his parents. Storyline two consists of Rom's competition with Zimmerman for the beautiful Leeta, a Dabo girl at Quark's who is in love with the Ferengi but is tired of waiting for him to make a move. The storyline with Bashir is clearly superior and very powerful—I would have liked the whole episode to be devoted to this powerful meditation on the dangers and ramifications of genetics. The Rom/Leeta affair is great, but tends to muddle the episode's effect. Alexander Siddig (Bashir) gives a harrowing, desperate performance.

Everyman O'Brien is angry about how Bashir plays darts. He'll get over it. Yet again, a solid 4 stations:





Disc Five:

Episode 17: A Simple Investigation
Stardate: Unknown

"A woman in Quark's told me I have bedroom eyes." -Odo

When a mysterious, beautiful woman appears on DS9, Odo is immediately smitten. However, it becomes clear she is caught up in a situation beyond her control. It seems she is a member of the Orion Syndicate, a powerful interplanetary criminal organization. She wants out, but the Syndicate does not simply let members leave. Odo must juggle his personal feelings for the damsel in distress and his obligation as the station's security chief. As always, things are not exactly what they seem... It is nice to see Odo get some companionship, but this episode seems like another forced, clich?d situation. There are some rather nice twists, a fine performance from Rene, and the obligatory bittersweet ending, but overall, this is a lesser entry.

That shape shifting ability seems to come in handy in certain situations. 2.5 stations:





Episode 18: Business As Usual
Stardate: Unknown

"The riskier the road, the greater the profit."-Gaila

As Quark faces financial ruin, his cousin Gaila comes to the rescue, offering Quark a place in the arms business—a line of work that has been very profitable for the bartender's cousin. Quark uses the holosuite to simulate the weapons he is selling to potential buyers, allowing sales to take place without a single weapon passing through DS9. Even though Quark's friends begin to alienate him for his questionable business practices, he is happy his many debts are finally being paid. However, when a new client looks to purchase a retrovirus that will kill millions of his enemies, Quark's conscience kicks in. The Ferengi must find a way to nullify the deal without getting himself killed at the hands of his strict employer. In another exploration of Ferengi business morality, Armin Shimerman shines. There are some genuinely chilling moments in this episode, including the cold, exacting speech delivered by Quark's cousin on the Promenade, making this episode a clear commentary on utilitarianism. Still, the script seems to be too padded with weapons demonstrations, and the story feels somewhat stretched.

A new rule of acquisition: Don't try to sell weapons under Captain Sisko's nose. 2.5 stations:





Episode 19: Ties of Blood and Water
Stardate: 50712.5

"Major Kira—friends with a Cardassian. It seems wrong." -Worf

The Cardassian Legate who helped the Bajoran resistance and once thought Kira was his long lost daughter returns to the station, banished from Dominion controlled Cardassia. Kira's "father" has a fatal disease, and wants to share his intimate knowledge of the Cardiassian political structure with the Major before he dies. Kira realizes the intelligence potential for both the Bajorans and the Federation. Gul Dukat and new Vorta sidekick Weyoun (the superb Jeffrey Combs) come to DS9, demanding to sieze custody of the Legate before his secrets are revealed. While his condition worsens, the truth is revealed about the Legate's past. Kira must face the pain of the Legate's death, and relive another similar event: The death of her real father during the occupation. Directed by Avery Brooks (Sisko), there are moments of true power in this episode. One thing I really admire about this series is its engrained sense of history. There are extensive backstories to each of these characters that are slowly revealed, further enhancing character development. A good performance by Nana Visitor, this is a decent entry, but nothing exemplary. Even though the episode is really about Kira's relationship to her father(s), it would have been nice to hear some more of the "secrets" the Legate was revealing.

If Gul Dukat brings Canar to a party, don't drink it. 3 stations:





Episode 20: Ferengi Love Songs
Stardate: Unknown

Ishka: You're a manipulative, self-centered conniver.
Quark: Thank you!

While his bar is being flushed of a Vole infestation, Quark decides to cure his depression with a visit to his mother on Ferenginar. After arriving, he discovers Grand Nagus Zek (the fantastic Wallace Shawn) in his closet! Zek and Quark's mother, Ishka (Cecily Adams), have been seeing each other for some time. Zek does not mind Ishka's rebellious ways, which includes the advocation of equal rights for women, and wearing clothing. FCA official Brunt (Jeffrey Combs, again) does, however, and promises Quark the reinstatement of his business license if he breaks up the relationship. Quark does so, regains his license and lands a job as the Nagus's financial advisor. Quark realizes that the Nagus is losing his memory and is unable to transact business on his own. Who then has been leading Ferenginar into a financial boom? Why, Ishka, of course. Quark must fix his blunder before his homeworld is plunged into financial ruin. Some of the Ferengi episodes are hit or miss, but Ferengi Love Songs is a definite double in the gap. The interplay between Quark, Ishka and Zek is golden, and the odd Ferengi customs, which are really magnifications of the subversive greed within our own society (on Ferenginar, such attitudes are morally right), are entertaining. Look for the little details on the sets, including the many "donation boxes" and even a stack of towels by the door to dry one's head after a walk in the planet's never ending rain.

At least Ishka didn't throw out Quark's Marauder Mo action figures (which would have been worth more if they were kept in their original packages). 4 stations:





Disc Six:

Episode 21: Soldiers of the Empire
Stardate: Unknown

"The Klingons are as diverse a people as any. Some of them are strong, and some of them are weak."-Dax

When the Klingon cruiser B'Moth goes missing, General Martok is assigned to take the crew of the bird of prey Rotarran to seek her out. This is Martok's first command since his imprisonment at the hands of the Dominion, leading to some feelings of apprehension. Worf and Dax join the mission, which becomes more complicated than either of them imagined. Morale of the crew is low and social tensions are high, due to the defeat ridden record of the Rotarran. They desperately need a victory, but when Martok is faced with danger, his warrior's heart is nowhere to be found. Worf must make a difficult decision: Should he challenge the cowardly Martok, and take the ship by force? If you ever wanted a taste of what Star Trek: Klingon would be like, look no further. This episode gives us a enlightening look at the operations aboard a Klingon vessel, and the fact that, like any other race, the Klingons face depression and emotional hardship in the face of failure. The relationship between Michael Dorn and J.G. Hetzler really solidifies in this episode, strengthening the bond of respect that will play into future episodes.

Bring on the blood wine. 4 stations:





Episode 22: Children of Time
Stardate: 50814.2

"Who are you to decide who lives or dies?"-Sisko

While returning from a patrol in the Gamma Quadrant, Dax convinces Sisko to investigate an uncharted planet surrounded by a strange energy field. On the planet below, a startling discovery is made: A bustling colony of 8,000 humans, all of which are descendents of the Defiant's crew. Sisko is told that when the ship tries to exit the energy field, it will be thrown back in time 200 years and will crash on the planet surface, stranding the crew and forcing them to make a new life for themselves. Unfortunately, Kira dies in the process. Now that Sisko knows how to prevent the accident, he must decide whether to take his crew home, preventing the 8,000 inhabitants from ever being born, or to deliberately recreate the accident that leads to Kira's death, and preserve the colony. One of the series' most powerful episodes, Children of Time is a creative, engaging story. We get to see the many descendants of O'Brien, Sisko, Dax and Worf, many of which have similar traits. Odo is still alive and well and doesn't look a day over 105. His confessions to Kira play heavily into the outcome of the story. Once again, philosophy comes into play, forcing Sisko to decide between a deontological or utilitarian approach to the situation.

I can't say enough good things about this one. 5 stations:





Episode 23: Blaze of Glory
Stardate: Unknown

"I think I know someone who can help." -Sisko

Eddington returns! After receiving a message that the Maquis have launched cloaked missiles at Cardassia, Sisko forceably enlists the aid of the traitor Eddington to find the Maquis launching facility and abort the missiles. This is a treacherous prospect, since the Maquis have been all but wiped out by the Cardassian's new Dominion allies. Will Eddington look beyond his pride and prevent a catastrophe that will plunge the entire Alpha quadrant into war? Meanwhile, Nog has some difficulties with his new security duties. The Klingons have been giving the short Ferengi a mess of trouble, and he must find the courage to stand up to them, and gain the respect he deserves. Once again, the byplay between Sisko and Eddington is what makes this entry shine. These are simply two great actors with well developed characters, engaged in a war of words. Fine suspense and a few surprises make for an entertaining and meaningful ride. The Nog storyline is a lesser component, but fun.

Nog would tell you to never lean too far back in a chair. 3.5 stations:





Episode 24: Empok Nor
Stardate: Unknown

"Ah, welcome to Empok Nor." -Garak

O'Brien's technical expertise cannot repair a vital portion of the station, forcing him to lead a salvage operation to an abandoned Cardassian station identical to DS9, Empok Nor. The Chief, along with Garak, Nog and four redshirts, gingerly scour the booby-trapped station for the necessary components. However, their efforts have awoken two fanatical Cardiassian soldiers who were in stasis. The crew must fight for their lives, facing threats from the Cardassians and from within. A stylized, suspenseful episode that is ultimately nothing more than a moody scare fest. It's effectively dark, creepy and unsettling, enhanced by some very good performances from Colm Meaney and Andrew J. Robinson. In the end, there's more style than substance.

2.5 stations:





Disc Seven:

Episode 25: In the Cards
Stardate: Unknown

"All I have to do is get him this card. How hard can that be?"-Jake

Depression is running high on DS9. With the Dominion looming around the corner, businesses and residents are leaving the station by the handful. Jake and Nog look to cheer up Captain Sisko by bidding on an original Willie Mays rookie baseball card at an auction hosted by Quark. When they are outbid by an eccentric scientist who is attempting to achieve immortality, the dynamic duo is forced to obtain supplies in order to trade for the card. In the process, Jake and Nog end up doing favors for the entire senior staff to get what they are after, increasing morale. These activities also catch the attention of Weyoun, who is at the station to negotiate a non-aggression pact between Bajor and the Dominion. For the time being, Bajor declines, not wishing to align themselves with such a threatening force. Clearly the writers were trying to infuse a sense of light hearted humor before bringing out the big guns, and they succeed very well. There are lots of very funny moments to be found, highlighted by Nog's undying Ferengi instincts.

That Willie Mays card sure came in a nice looking case. 3.5 stations:





Episode 26: Call to Arms
Stardate: Unknown

O'Brien: I wish they'd just attack and get it over with.
Sisko: I have a feeling you're going to get your wish.

Here we go. The Dominion conflict kicks into high gear. As more and more Dominion forces enter the Alpha quadrant, Sisko and his crew cannot stand idly by. They decide to mine the entrance to the wormhole, effectively setting up a blockade. Weyoun comes to the station to attempt what he calls a "peaceful" arrangement. Sisko sees through his subterfuge, knowing that the Dominion intends to attack, take the station, and dismantle the mines themselves. In preparation, Sisko advises Bajor to sign the non-aggression pact with the Dominion, for their own protection. As the Defiant races to complete the minefield before the Dominion fleet arrives, some personal relationships are addressed on the station. When the firing begins, Sisko must make a harrowing call that will affect the future of the conflict and the series. I don't want to give too much away, but needless to say, this is DS9 at its adventurous best. Fantastic characters, action, story, dazzling special effects and a gripping cliffhanger come together to create one of the finest season enders in Trek's entire run.

Concluded by one of the coolest shots you'll ever see, this stunning season finale will force you to buy season 6 immediately! 5 stations:



Rating for Style: A+
Rating for Substance: A+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: If you've been satisfied with the picture quality on the previous sets, you will not be disappointed. Paramount has produced a collection of gorgeous transfers with outstanding detail, contrast, color and very minimal grain. Of course the visual effects sequences, which were mastered on video, look a bit edgy at times, but this is not a transfer defect.

Image Transfer Grade: A

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The 5.1 mix does not disappoint. The majority of the track is front heavy, but there is a great sense of channel separation and increased dynamic range. Sound effects and dialogue are crystal clear, and the surrounds are put to good use for atmosphere and the occasional battle sequence. Not as dynamic as I would like (especially in the surrounds and LFE), but a great remix. The original 2.0 tracks are also included, but stick with the 5.1.

Audio Transfer Grade: A

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 208 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Other Trailer(s) featuring
2 Documentaries
13 Featurette(s)
Packaging: unknown keepcase
Picture Disc
7 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. 10 "Hidden Files" which feature very brief interviews with cast and crew members about memorable episodes and characters.
Extras Review: The extras are similar to what has come before, and are somewhat uninspired. Since the most memorable episode of the season is undoubtedly Trials and Tribble-ations, we get two featurettes on the classic episode: Trials and Tribble-ations: Uniting Two Legends (17m:00s) and Trials and Tribble-ations: An Historic Endeavor (16m:39s). These two pieces explore the conception and execution of the episode, with revealing crew interviews and some nice behind the scenes shots (including the new models built for the episode). It is clear this entry was a real labor of love for the cast and crew, many of which are die-hard classic fans. Ira Steven Behr also contributes a great story about a "coincidence" concerning the actor who portrayed Arne Darvin.

Crew Dossier: Miles O'Brien (11m:31s) gives us a complete portrait of our favorite everyman engineer. Interviews with Colm Meaney and the crew trace the origins and evolution of the character. The writers have a clear affection for O'Brien—he is the "ordinary guy" on the station who is just trying to get his job done and raise a family. There is a sense of regularity in the character than others on the station lack.

Next. Inside DS9 with Michael Okuda (7m:20s) shows us some of the fantastic design work of Michael Okuda, who has been responsible for the graphics on Star Trek for many years. He takes us on a tour of the DS9 set, pointing out trivia, easter eggs and various details in the display graphics that are not visible in any episodes. He also touches on his work from previous series. Okuda is also the writer of the "text commentary" tracks on the new 2-disc DVDs of the original films.

Michael Westmore's Aliens (7m:22s) gives us a fascinating glimpse at the series' complex makeup design. Different prosthetics, procedures and design origins are discussed, along with some comments from cast members about the ups and downs of wearing extensive appliances.

Finally, a photo gallery of 44 stills rounds out the extras. Some are photos of previous alums directing, including LeVar Burton and Rene Auberjonois. Most of these features seem kind of hurried and lacking. Nevertheless, there is some solid material here that fans will eat up.

Extras Grade: B

 

Final Comments

Paramount has produced a stellar set of what is probably the series' finest season. Characters, action, adventure and meaning blend into some of the best television ever made. A/V quality is outstanding, but the extras are a bit lacking. However, it's the show that really counts. Highly recommended.

 


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