|Chancellor Gowron (Robert O'Reilly) |
returns to Deep Space 9.
Damar and several Cardassian leaders have begun an open rebellion against the Dominion, which opens up a potential advantage for Starfleet. But Damar and his men lack the skill set to be resistance fighters. They need someone who can teach them how to wage war with limited resources against a superior enemy. Sisko "volunteers" Kira to act as an advisor to Damar - but a Bajoran advising Cardassians on guerilla tactics is destined to go over badly, and Kira finds herself constantly challenged by Damar's second in command, Gul Rusot (John Vickery).
Kira's situation isn't the only turbulent one. On Bajor, Kai Winn grows closer to comprehending the ritual to release the pah-wraiths, even as Dukat pushes his luck just a little too far. Meanwhile, Dr. Bashir discovers that Odo has contracted the disease afflicting the changelings. When he contacts Starfleet for Odo's old medical scans, hoping to use them to devise a cure, he finds himself stonewalled in a manner highly reminiscent of a certain Section with which he's had previous dealings.
At least things are looking up a bit for Sisko, who finds one advantage salvaged from the disastrous battle for the Chin'toka system. It turns out that with a simple adaptation, Klingon ships can be made immune to the Breen energy weapon. Martok immediately begins planning a hit-and-run campaign to slow the Dominion offensive.
...Which is when Chancellor Gowron arrives to honor Martok's service, and to take personal command of the Klingon forces. His first order? An all-out assault that can only lead to disaster!
Capt. Sisko: Realizes immediately that Kira is the exact right person to teach Damar's forces, and sticks firmly to his decision even when Kira expresses hesitance. "Whether you like Damar or not is irrelevant. We need him. The Dominion knows they have to stop his rebellion before it spreads, and it's up to you to see that they don't."
Col. Kira: Has not forgotten that Damar killed Ziyal, whom she regarded as family, but she agrees with Sisko that she will work with her former enemy for the sake of the war. Odo and Garak accompany her on the mission - which proves to be a good thing, as the two of them work to keep Kira and Gul Rusot from each other's throats. Kira voice some hard truths to Damar about running a Resistance, including the impossibility of avoiding Cardassian casualties. "Anyone who's not fighting with you is fighting against you."
Dr. Bashir: When he discovers Odo has been infected with the virus, he feels confident that he can find a cure by simply comparing Odo's current scan with an old one and isolating the differences. What he isn't counting on is stonewalling by Starfleet Medical. He is able to get around that with some (offscreen) assistance from Sisko... only to find a new layer of deception on top of the previous one. That's when he realizes the truth, and prepares to take action that will doubtless form the focus of an upcoming episode.
Damar: Acknowledges his dislike of Kira, but tells Rusot that this hatred is "a luxury (he) can no longer afford." His personal distaste shows in the stiffness of his interactions, but he genuinely listens to her advice and extends every courtesy he can. The enemy (Kira) of his enemy (the Dominion) may not be his friend - but he'll grudgingly accept her as an ally.
Martok/Gowron: Gowron is happy to sing Martok's praises while awarding him The Star of Kahless. But his real purpose is to retake command, to make himself the "savior of the Empire." As Worf observes, Martok's leadership has made him increasingly popular with the Klingon military. Gowron, a schemer who maneuvered his way into power, can only see him as a threat. Unfortunately, the political scheming that led to him becoming Chancellor did not prepare him for large scale combat tactics, leaving the Klingons - and with them, the entire Federation - on the verge of calamity.
Dukat/Winn: The balance of power has firmly shifted from Dukat to Winn. Now that she knows his true identity, she treats him with open scorn, appalled that she shared a bed with a man responsible for so many Bajoran deaths. Not that she can lay claim to any particular moral high ground - When he points out that summoning the pah-wraiths will result in more deaths, she haughtily responds: "The pah-wraiths will spare those whom they find worthy; the rest are of no consequence."
When It Rains... adds one more fine episode added to the largely superb final run of this series. Writer Rene Echevarria handles the multiple plot threads well, focusing each thread on the characters: Kira and Damar's mutual unease at having to work together; Bashir's determination to help a friend and patient, and his gradual realization of a conspiracy; Gowron's thirst for glory; Kai Winn's own appetite for power, which is balanced against her disgust at working with Dukat. Four plot threads in one episode, but it never feels choppy because each thread is so strongly rooted in the characters and in the sense that everything is building toward Something Big.
This is the third episode Michael Dorn has directed. Taken alongside the excellent In the Cards and the very good Inquisition, it's clear he has a strong handle on the series and its atmosphere. I find myself actively sorry that he didn't direct more episodes. He may not have the visual eye of Jonathan Frakes or David Livingston, but he definitely knows how to work with the cast, focus on the best elements of the script, and keep the pace moving throughout.
The story itself is mainly another building block in the larger arc, setting up elements for the next installments. Even so, it maintains a strong grip throughout, with each strand promising interesting new developments - and raising anticipation, and expectations, for those remaining installments
Overall Rating: 8/10.
Previous Episode: The Changing Face of Evil
Next Episode: Tacking into the Wind
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