"Sacrifice of Angels"

Season Six, Episode 6
Written by Ira Steven Behr and Hans Beimler
Directed by Allan Kroeker
Music by David Bell
Main Cast:
Avery Brooks as Captain Benjamin Sisko
Rene Auberjonois as Odo
Michael Dorn as Lt Cmdr Worf
Terry Farrell as Lt Cmdr Jadzia Dax
Cirroc Lofton as Jake Sisko
Colm Meaney as Chief Miles O'Brien
Armin Shimerman as Quark
Alexander Siddig as Dr Julian Bashir
Nana Visitor as Major Kira Nerys

Guest Stars:
Marc Alaimo as Dukat
Jeffrey Combs as Weyoun
Andrew J Robinson as Garak
Casey Biggs as Damar
Max Grodenchik as Rom
Aron Eisenberg as Nog
Salome Jens as Female Changeling
J.G. Hertzler as Martok
Melanie Smith as Ziyal.


The clock is ticking. As the Federation fleet is locked in fierce combat against the full might of the Dominion, Kira and the Resistance group desperately must find a way to stop Dukat from destroying the minefield, thus enabling Dominion reinforcements to come through from the Gamma Quadrant. Kira plans to plant a bomb that will disable the deflector array, but before she's even finished her conversation, Damar enters and arrests the lot of them on suspicion of having aided Rom's attempted sabotage. Quark looks on by as the last hope for saving the Alpha Quadrant disappears. Meanwhile, Odo cannot help but think of his friends fighting and dying and he feels partly responsible. The Female Changeling assures him that whilst those people may have once meant something to him, the Link means more. It's a bloody fight but just as the Federation looks to be losing, the Klingons arrive -- better late than never. With some clever maneuvering Sisko manages to fight his way through the enemy lines and sets a course for DS9 at maximum warp. But this is not cause for alarm, for the minefield will soon be down and reinforcements will pour through the wormhole.

Quark, in a desperate bid to rescue Kira and the others, enlists the help of Ziyal to conduct a jailbreak. They succeed and Kira and Rom have to disbable the station weapons', which will prevent Dukat from destroying the mines. But it's not long before the Jem'Hadar are on their backs, and chased into a cargo bay, they are suprised when the cavalry takes the form of -- Odo. He stops the Jem'Hadar enabling Kira and Rom to get to the weapons systems. Kira asks why he chose his mind, but Odo can barely explain himself; "The Link was paradise...but it appears I'm not ready for paradise". Rom races to try and deactivate the weapons, but he's too late -- Dukat successfully destroys the minefield. The Defiant arrives just in time to see the minefield come down. But when Damar tries to open fire on the Defiant, he realises the weapons are off-line. Dukat knows what has happened: Major Kira. Sisko orders Dax to take the Defiant into the wormhole, "a hell of a plan B", she notes as they're likely to encounter the full brunt of the reinforcements.

But as the Defiant enters the wormhole, the Prophets call to Sisko, demmanding to know why he's risking his life. Sisko says that he's willing to risk his own life to save Bajor, claiming that if those reinforcements get through then Bajor is as good as destroyed. He makes a plea to the Prophets; "If you want to be Gods, then be Gods. I need a miracle, Bajor needs a miracle -- stop those ships!". The Prophets agree to help, but a penance must be exacted for Sisko's belligerence. "You are of Bajor," he is told. "But you will find no rest there. Your pagh will follow a different path." Before Sisko can learn more, he is back on the Bridge of the Defiant, and he watches as the Dominion fleet vanishes before his eyes. Dukat watches at the Defiant exits the wormhole, but there is no sign of the Dominion fleet. Upon learning that it's gone and that Starfleet has broken through the enemy lines, heading for the station, Weyoun decides "it's time to start packing".

As the Dominion evacuates the station, Dukat descends into a bout of hysteria. He races about looking for his daughter Ziyal, but she refuses to leave with him. She tells him that it was her that helped Kira and the others to escape. Dukat doesn't care, all he wants is his beloved daughter. But as she turns to say goodbye, she is shot by Damar, who brands her a traitor, urging Dukat to leave. Dukat collapses beside his daughter, holding her in his arms until she dies. Damar leaves Dukat behind. The Dominion personnel gone, the Defiant crew board the station and are welcomed home, famillies reunited. Garak searches the Promenade for Ziyal and overhears Jake tell Sisko that Kira is in the infirmary with Ziyal. But he isn't prepared for the sight that greets him: Ziyal's lifeless body. Dukat is huddled in a cell, babbling almost incoherently, evidently unaware of anything around him. He calls his daughters name, muttering that he loves and forgives his precious girl and that they will both go to Cardassia and be happy there. As Odo takes Dukat out of the cell to see if Bashir can do anything to help him, Dukat hands Sisko his baseball and tells him "I forgive you, too."


(NB: This review is taken from my Season Review . For my original review, see The Dominion War Arc)
I couldn't help myself. I just had to take a peek at what they were saying about this episode when it aired in the States. And from what I read, I was expecting something rather disappointing. So, imagine my very pleasant surprise when, upon finally viewing the episode, I wasn't disappointed in the least!

Sacrifice of Angels is without doubt one of the most exciting episode of Trek we've had for quite some time, and when I say exciting, I mean exciting! It's not often that television has me literally on the edge of my seat, but I was here. The tension builds and builds, as Sisko leads a desperate attempt to try and fight his way through the Dominion fleet and get to DS9 before Dukat can removed the minefield (which will allow some 2, 800 Dominion ships into the Apha Quadrant!). The "clock is ticking" plot device works wonderfully in building the tension, and the whole episode builds up to what you know will be a catastrophic conclusion. Of course, anyone in doubt as to whether out good guys will win obviously needs their head checked, but the title alone, Sacrifice of Angels gives a tantalising sense of foreboding trouble.

Can I just say that the special effects were fan-bloody-tastic!! Truly, I don't think you can expect to see any better outside of a cinema. These are without doubt the most stunning visuals I have ever seen on Trek. Very impressive. Apart from being pretty to look at, they keep your attention from wavering, and along with the brilliant score, add to the episode apocalyptic ambience. Oh, the score! Dark, menacing and ominous, it's brilliant, and effective in the extreme. David Bell's distinctive tones are extremely well suited to heavy, involved stories like this.

Damar arresting Kira and co before they can stop them is a very logical move, and adds a nice twist to things. I absolutely adored Quark's angle in all this! We see another side to the Ferengi barkeep when he realises that he alone can save Kira and stop the Dominion from taking down the minefield. As Rom put it in the previous episode, "the fate of the entire Alpha Quadrant rests in your hands". Of course, Quark is no action hero and he doesn't want to die. But "if that's what's written, then that's what's written", and along with Ziyal, Quark displays great courage and bravery as he rescues Kira and Rom, while gunning down the Jem'Hadar guards. I'd love to see more of this "serious side" to Quark. Armin Shimmerman is terrific, and his delivery of the line "Now you've ruined it" to the guard who Ziyal sedates is absolutely sublime.

But Kira, Rom and co don't escape without the help of Odo, who redeems himself here. It's a rather low key conclusion to a plot development that promised more than it delivered, but at a crunch it worked. The final scene between Odo and the Changeling was notably underplayed, but as Auberjonois and Jens play it, more is said in a glance than a page of dialogue. I can understand why the resolution was down-played, as the writers had so much they had to resolve in the course of an hour. There's a hint of tragedy to the whole thing (Odo: "the Link was paradise, but maybe I'm not ready for paradise"), and the Changeling hints that she will be seeing Odo again real soon ("it's only a matter of time").

Anyway, there's a great build-up to Dukat deactivating the minefield, as the Defiant races toward the station to try and pevent this from happening, and Kira and Rom desperately trying to deactivate the station's weapons, thus stopping Dukat. But, in a very dramatic and commendable twist, all their efforts prove futile, and Dukat succeeds in destroying the minefield, and the gigantic fleet of Dominion ships is on its way into the Wormhole. Things just got a hundred times worse for the Alpha Quadrant!

Sisko takes the Defiant into the Wormhole in a potentially suicide mission to try and stop as many enemy ships as possible. It's then that the Wormhole aliens, or Prophets, make contact with Sisko. I must admit that the Prophets sequence wasn't as deftly written as it could have been. Whilst intriguing, one cannot help but wonder why it takes Sisko so long to get through to them. After all, in last season's Rapture he began receiving visions directly from the Prophets, so I'd have expected them to be at more of an...understanding. But Sisko pleading with the Prophets to stop the Dominion fleet was logical and made sense, although I don't think it was make especially clear why the Prophets needed to impose a "penance" on Sisko. He's told his "pagh will follow another path" and that he will find no rest on Bajor. Intriguing no doubt, but I'm still not sure why.

Which leads us into our final act, which is the most dramatic of all. The moment where Dukat and co realise that they have been defeated and must abandon the station ("time to start packing," as Weyoun notes. :-) ) is quite powerful, thanks largely to Marc Alaimo's brilliant performance. "Victory was within our grasp...it's all lost!" Alaimo really conveyed a sense of loss, and it became obvious that Dukat was starting to lose the plot, as he ran off to find his daughter, Ziyal. As he runs through the coridors, it becomes increasingly obvious that Dukat has gone more than a bit insane, and you just know that something terrible is going to happen.

I must admit that the final Dukat/Ziyal scenes had a fair bit of resonance. In spite of whatever he may have done, he deeply loves his daughter, and this adds another layer of complexity to one of Star Trek's most three-dimensional, fascinating characters. When he tells her that she means everything to him, you believe it. Which makes it all the more tragic when Damar kills Ziyal, proclaiming her a traitor for assisting in the jail-break. Dukat, on the verge of madness cradles his daughter in his arms as she dies. It's one of the show's saddest moments, and Alaimo's powerful performance had me on the verge of tears. Dukat's final fate, huddled in a security cell, dazed and muttering to his dead daughter was quite heart-wrenching. He's the bad guy, he's nuts, but you can't help but feel sorry for him. After all, he's lost everything -- his status as head of Cardassia (presumably), his "victory against the Federation" he was so obsessed about, and of course, his beloved daughter.

Oh, and Sisko and crew arrive back aboard DS9 to cheery applause, and families are reunited, although the episode ends on a sombre, bittersweet note in the aftermath of Ziyal's death. Despite one or two problems (the Odo situation and my qualms about the Prophet sequence being foremost), Sacrifice of Angels is a stunning, exciting and moving episode and a fitting end to the war arc.

Rating: 9.5

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