Episode 5.1: Apocalypse Rising

Since the finale of Season 4 (Broken Link, Ep. 4.26), there has been all out war between the Federation and the Klingons. Up until that point, they had some skirmishes (like that which caused Worf’s trial in Rules of Engagement, Ep. 4.18) but mostly it was the Klingons attacking the Cardassians. The dispute over the Archanis System was the red line the Klingons crossed. In many ways, this line needed to be crossed. The Klingons needed to know that the Federation wasn’t simply political enablers, easily pushed over by aggressors. To be staunch allies, the Klingons needed to test the mettle of the Federation. By the end of the episode, a ceasefire is restored, and I’m grateful for this. The Dominion makes clear invasions into the Alpha Quadrant in Season 5 (By Inferno’s Light, Ep. 5.15). I think the season is much better focused on them as the enemy, and not in a conflict between the Klingons and the Federation. I like the clarity of the Dominion as an enemy, and I enjoy the balance that forms between the Klingons and the Federation as wartime allies.

I think Dukat’s role here is extremely important. He has been fighting total war for months now. He needs help to defeat them, and an alliance with Sisko furthers that goal. His people gradually losing the war is one of many factors that leads to him forming the alliance with the Dominion later in this season. I think that the Federation’s non-intervention policy with the Cardassian-Klingon war sows fertile ground for Dukat’s deal. With this mission, Dukat is that uneasy ally that’s needed. Compared to Sisko’s crew, he’s uncivilized. He opts for disruptors over Worf’s ability to lie. But this is an uncivilized mission, and his temperament is needed to get them all the way to Ty’Gokor. The need for “uncivilized” actions will continue to grow.

Odo was lied to. He was treated as a solid by the Great Link when he was manipulated for the advantage of the Changelings. They tried to steal his core identity. In the beginning of the episode, Odo is in Quark’s mesmerized by a liquid (clear symbolism there) and fascinated by the simplicity of the bubbles. He’s searching out anything to give him even simple meaning in life, as his work has become flat for him. But Odo isn’t just his ability to shapeshift. His deductive skills are renowned. It was a tremendously subtle thing to notice that Changeling-Martok’s actions were dishonorable while Gowron was acting in complete honor. He had to meld his knowledge of two separate cultures to make that deduction. The whole episode (and the end of Broken Link, Ep. 4.26) lead the viewer to think that Gowron was the Changeling. That was actually never challenged until Odo did. Changeling-Martok was fooling the viewer as much as he was fooling the crew in stoking their suspicion of Gowron. After Changeling-Martok was killed, Gowron further shows his honor by recognizing Odo’s ability and seeking a ceasefire with the Federation. Gowron is finally convinced that the threat from the Dominion can come from within, and they desire the Alpha Quadrant powers destroy each other. At the end of the episode, Odo wishes to keep his old face, a symbol of him accepting his Changeling past alongside his solid future.

There’s another big advantage of making the Klingons allies again; this allows the writers to really flesh out the honor and glory culture of the Klingons. As enemies, the writers would be much less likely to show them in a good light. As wartime allies, true respect forms between the Federation crew and various Klingons (mostly Worf, Martok, Gowron). The Klingons are like that friend you don’t totally get, but the passion they exude seeps into you, and you learn to respect their foreign qualities. In his training session, Worf clearly portrays the goodness of Klingon culture. They speak and walk proudly, they are confident in their words, and they challenge each others’ insults, keeping each other in check. They revel in challenges, as Worf looked forward to the songs if they succeed in their mission. Their first test to enter into a prestigous warrior society is whether they can celebrate well or not! Their commitment and dedication to tradition, each other, and honor cannot be overstated. Watching this episode (and Way of the Warrior, Ep. 4.1) a second time reveals how dishonorable Changeling-Martok was acting, and it is in stark contrast to Klingon culture.

Random Thoughts: 1) Dukat is heavily decorated for his actions against the Klingons. This is internal to his crew, I think, as he’s a rebel against even his own government. I absolutely love his face when Kira tells him that O’Brien is the father of her child. 2) Dukat wanting a holopic as payment was pretty funny. 3) Kira and Bashir have a moment where they discuss the baby, and Kira tells Julian “This is all your fault!” This is a nod to Alexander Siddig being the actual father of Nana Vistor’s baby. I think at one point before Kira gives birth (I’m not sure when), Nana Visitor gives birth. She ended up wearing a pregnant suit to finish the storyline they developed for her. 4) Bashir talks with both Kira and Jake about the danger of the mission. His advice: Walk tall, even in the face of adversity. 5) Utterly random, but the cups they used to drink the bloodwine were familiar to me. I used those same cups at my high school steakhouse job (Ponderosa) in the food preparation area. 6) The fight between Gowron and Worf was well done and enjoyable. 7) So many disruptors used to kill the Changeling. Awesome. 8) I love how Gowron is dismissive of the Federation suggestion to talk. A similar theme is seen with the Maquis. This attitude will not help the Federation deal with the Dominion. The Klingon way will be the way that succeeds. 9) The title of the episode, Apocalypse Rising, foreshadows the theme of the rest of the season. The war is building.

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~ by Joshua Black on January 7, 2018.

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