Episode 4.23: To The Death

Weyoun’s presence in DS9 is an essential element that shapes the second half of the series in a profound way. He is an embodiment of the sinister, ruthless Dominion. Weyoun represents the velvet glove of the Dominion. Weyoun constantly sounds like he’s being a polite, reasonable guy. But he is evil to the core. He will utterly destroy a civilization if it advances the Founders’ agenda. Weyoun is constantly maneuvering himself and others. He’ll manipulate anyone, from Jem’Hadar to Federation officer, to get what he needs. He’ll respect the order of things as long as it advances the Founders’ agenda. While Bajor has a non-aggression pact with the Dominion, he respects the agreement and is amicable to Major Kira. He’s a great friend…until the moment he’s not a friend. Weyoun is also very calculated. I think he cleverly tells Sisko about his pyschographic profile to manipulate Sisko. His portrayal by Jeffery Combs is absolutely brilliant. His nonchalance is a core character trait of Weyoun. I’m not sure if they intended to have Weyoun come back, but I’m immensely grateful they did.

Jem’Hadar seek victory above all else. In this episode, Omet’iklan is willing to suffer any indignation, even disrespect from a Vorta, to eliminate the rebels. These Jem’Hadar are immensely loyal to the Founders. This creates both a respected and formidable foe. The more the Federation sees into the psyche of the Jem’Hadar, the more insurmountable a foe they become. The Jem’Hadar were implicitly compared to two different species in this episode. There is a subtle, but important, difference between the Jem’Hadar and the Klingons. For Klingons, they fight for the honor of it. They clearly seek victory, but only because victory brings honor. The Klingons revel in their accomplishments. The Jem’Hadar, on the other hand, seek only victory. There is no joy, no pride. Just victory. This makes them immensely dangerous, because they are not distracted by what comes after victory. There’s also a contrast between the Jem’Hadar and the Vorta. The Jem’Hadar are steeped in ritual and structure. When Weyoun shows contempt for the ritual of giving White to the First, he disrespects the Jem’Hadar themselves. When the Second, Toman’torax, disobeys orders, he is killed on the spot. Their loyalty to the Founders is rooted in this structure and ritual. The Vorta, on the other hand, are loyal to the Founders in a devotional, sycophantic way. Weyoun speaks to Odo in hushed and reverent tones. It’s a formidable combination of loyal servants the Founders have created.

The episode is rounded out with some great tension and action. Worf gets several moments here to be fully Klingon, which I greatly enjoyed. He protects his own honor and the honor of others. He finally breaks and attacks Toman’torax because Toman’torax called O’Brien a coward. He gives sound advice to Sisko as an executive officer…followed by a vow to avenge his death should it come to pass. The action sequence to end the episode allowed a nice conclusion to all tension from the rest of the episode. I think this operation spread word through the Dominion that the Federation and the Klingons are not as weak as the other Alpha Quadrant races. The killing Weyoun took me by surprise, but it was a perfect way to end the episode.

Random Thoughts: 1) There is a core of recurring characters that are fundamental to the show, and without them, DS9 would not be the same. I would consider this list to be Garak, Dukat, Winn, Weyoun, Martok, Nog, and Damar. And Morn. There are other excellent recurring characters, but this list, to me, contains characters that shaped the essence of DS9 in some way. This will probably become an Interlude sometime in Season 5. 2) This Weyoun clone was Weyoun 4. We’ll see a total of 5 Weyouns during the show, ending on Weyoun 8. 3) An awesome effect to have an entire pylon be blown off DS9 and for the viewer to see it. Emphasizes the danger the Dominion poses.  4) I like how Julian toys with Worf in the beginning about his seat. 5) The incident with the Enterprise and the Iconian Gateway that Worf mentions is from Contagion (TNG Ep. 2.11). 6) Weyoun confirms that the Founder control over the Jem’Hadar partially depends on the White; it isn’t just genetic programming. 7) They do address the obvious way to deal with the renegades…bombing the gateway from orbit wouldn’t work. 8) The interaction between Virak’kara and Dax is amusing. Jem’Hadar only live to be in the teens, if they are lucky. 9) Omet’iklan’s speech contrasted with O’Brien’s speech was hilarious to me. 10) Weyoun encouraging Odo to return to the Founders and submit to them foreshadows the season finale, Broken Link (Ep. 4.26). In fact, and I didn’t realize this on my own, it is written into the script of this episode that when Weyoun claps Odo on the shoulder, he infects him with the virus that forces him back to the Founders in Broken Link. 11) It’s a common trick of Odo to be a bag during a fight. 12) Jeffery Combs also portrays Liquidator Brunt, FCA. I have to admit that it wasn’t until I saw Dogs of War (Ep. 7.24) the first time that I figured this out. Granted, at the time, I was watching only one a week as they came out. 13) Clarence William III, the actor who portrays Omet’iklan, is a brilliant Jem’Hadar. He brought out a fierceness that I really liked and it felt very Jem’Hadar-y. Another one-off guest star that brings immense strength to DS9.


~ by Joshua Black on December 12, 2017.

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