Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode 5x26 and 6x01 liveblog

In commemoration with the 50th anniversary of the debut of Star Trek, September 8th 1996, we here at Third Edge of the Sword World Headquarters in Riverside, Iowa present a liveblog of the DS9 Season 5 finale "A Call to Arms" and the sixth season debut "A Time to Stand".

We'll start "A Call to Arms" at 11pm Eastern Standard Time, 8pm Pacific. "A Time to Stand" will start at midnight EST, 9pm Pacific.

Note: all times are in Mountain Standard Time

21:01: And we're off. Garak is showing Leeta and Rom wedding dresses. Compelling!

21:03: "It's two hankerchiefs and a loincloth!". Sometimes the non-Trek writing on this show sparkels. And who wants a Tellarite wedding dress?

21:04: "Any marriage where the female is allowed to speak and wear clothing is doomed to failure." Man, you gotta love Quark. It's a shame they pussified the Ferengi at the end of the series.

21:05: "Would you marry me?" Rom propositions Sisko in a rare Star Trek fagshenanigans gag. The scary music swells as a convoy leaves the wormhole bound for Cardassia. War is coming, kids.

21:06: Deep Space Nine really has an underappreciated theme song doesn't it? Obviously it can't hold a candle to the TNG theme since it was just a ripoff of the Jerry Goldsmith Star Trek: The Motion Picture theme. But DS9 is hopeful, brooding, often triumphant and apprehensive, and it never gets much respect. You can listen to 30 remixes and covers of the Voyager theme, but none for DS9. It's a shame.

21:08: It's worth noting that "A Call to Arms" is the only episode of Deep Space Nine that shares its title with a narrative piece on Babylon 5, specifically the fourth TNT movie where Sheridan and Garibaldi [rest in peace, Jerry Doyle... -ed] oversee the construction of the destroyer-class White Star. That episode features the legendary Tony Todd, who of course also plays Worf's brother.

21:10: Ben and Jake have a conversation about Jake being involved in the "Starfleet News Service", and Sisko doesn't like his public (or possibly private?) statements reported in the press. If this is a military press, then Sisko should already have some authority over what they publish. Later Jake will work for the Federation News Service, a civilian press organization which obviously wouldn't be subject to Starfleet oversight.

21:11: Everybody pay attention to this scene. It's a big and important scene, and not just because the geopolitical structure of the galaxy is being discussed. The Romulans have signed a nonaggression pact with The Dominion, which will ultimately lead in one of the greatest hours of television ever: "In the Pale Moonlight". There's a Tholian name-drop, which happened a lot in DS9 without payoff. We'd have to wait until Enterprise to see that.

21:12: Anyways, Sisko and Starfleet agree that they're losing the peace. Which means the Federation will mine the entrance to the wormhole.

21:15: If you think really hard about the minefield, you'll see that the science doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Each mine could have a replicator unit, but they need power to replicate other mines. This realistically wouldn't work scientifically, but all you need to know is magical technobabble means the mines will do the job your brain thinks they will. It also means that laying the mines will take a lot of time and tie up the Defiant while she has no cloaking device or shields.

21:16: Odo makes an excuse to see Kira: cutting off subspace traffic to prevent leaks. Seeing how Sisko basically just openly said on the bridge "Starfleet is preparing an armada to make a first strike on Dominion holdings in Cardassian territory" that is probably a good idea. The Odo-Kira relationship never sat well with me, and this is Odo being as he should be: cold and emotionless. Not sappy, even though René Auberjonois does that look so well.

21:20: Weyoun has arrived to threaten Sisko fairly blatently. Usually the Vorta are the classic nice-talking diplomats, but here Weyoun almost pounds his shoe on the table and cries "we will bury you!" Sisko doesn't give any quarter back either, and when Weyoun tries to "compromise" Sisko holds his ground. Weyoun tries his good cop routine again, of course, and gives a total bullshit reason for the military convoy. This is a great scene. Weyoun proposes civilian-only transport ships to cease the mining of the wormhole.

21:22: I enjoyed this scene more when you the viewer had to see through the subtext yourself. Unfortunately, as Penksy File notes, 90s audiences needed things spelled out though. After Weyoun leaves on "good terms" and Sisko explains to the senior staff that the entire last half of the conversation was a ruse. The minefield has to be finished within 16 hours.

21:24: Sisko asks Kira to meet with the Council of Ministers, so that he can persuade them to sign a nonaggression pact with the Dominion. He says Bajor must be kept safe, those were his orders in the first episode. Actually, his orders were to do everything short of violating the Prime Directive to get Bajor to join the Federation. Dude should learn to read better.

21:25: Remember what I said about the Odo-Kira romance? Double goes to the Garak-Ziyal romance. Robinson plays a great speech, but he's really a softie compared to the cold hearted bastard from "The Wire".

21:26: Rom and Leeta are married. This is still a horrible romance, but not as bad as those other two. Nog refers to the Dabo Girl as "Moogie" which is weird. Chase Masterson is 6 years older than Aron Einsenberg.

21:28: All Bajorans have left the station, Sisko has prepared his top secret program (which shouldn't need any computer prep time, but whatever), and Martok has the Dominion Fleet on sensors. Gul Dukat does his best 1989 Batman Joker gag and takes over the screen, making idle threats.

21:30: Already it's the "Federation News Service". Way to stay internally consistent, episode writers.

21:31: Garak is telling Odo about the events of "The Way of the Warrior" where he and Dukat fought side-by-side and Garak turned down the
opportunity to kill him.

21:32: I didn't remember this episode having so much family and relationship drama. The brothers Ferengi argue and then make up in the face of disaster.

21:33: Kira "officially" protests Starfleet still occupying Deep Space Nine, and then reports for duty. That's a lot of ships!

21:35: Dukat gives the game away, talking about how he plans to invade Bajor next. Weyoun will have none of that.

21:36: SHOTS FIRED! The Battle for Deep Space Nine has commenced. It's awfully hard to write about a bunch of effects shots, though at least Weyoun comes in to be shocked the Federation has developed shields the Dominion weapons cannot penetrate. Dukat references their science abilities, and then oddly enough brings up Sisko.

21:38: Martok saves the Defiant from Jem'Hadar warships so they can finish the mines. Dukat uses his knowledge of the station to tell the Dominion/Cardassian fleet to concentrate on a section of the docking ring, a move he stole from Captain Picard in Star Trek: First Contact. He penetrates the shields just as the last mine is deployed. The mines all activate and then cloak, which confuses me since I thought they weren't cloaking them.

21:39: Sisko gives up the ghost, Starfleet will evacuate the station. Spoiler warning: this will somehow be done very slowly without any tension.

21:41: Oh my God, another romance scene? This one between Dax and Worf. She kisses him when they should be evacuating the station, seeing how the Dominion has punched through the shields.

21:42: Sisko is explaining how important Deep Space Nine has been to him, and also how Starfleet has successfully destroyed Dominion shipyards. After his long-winded speech on a station apparently about to be destroyed/invaded, he beams aboard a (shieldless) Defiant and Starfleet evacuates DS9 along with...Garak. Somehow they let him on a warship.

21:43: The Defiant found time to dock in this mess? Both she and Martok's ship cloak and escape.

21:44: Kira welcomes the Dominion to Deep Space Nine and launches Sisko's secret program, which does to the computers on the station what the Goldeneye satellite did in the eponymous James Bond movie. Quark's, somehow, has lights despite Sisko's program. I don't know how that works.

21:45: Rom has gone back to work for his brother, and openly says that he's a Federation spy. He runs into Federation citizen Jake Sisko, who wants to stay in the warzone and report for the Federation and/or Starfleet news services.

21:46: Sisko is mad as hell about Jake, but he can't risk the ship to go back for him. Starfleet will regroup for a counterstrike while Dukat and Weyoun stride onto the promenade. Weyoun wants to remind everybody that the Federation probably won this round. Kira/Odo/Quark welcome the Dominion (and arrogant Cardassians) to Terok Nor, as Weyoun snivels.

21:47: Dukat has discovered...

(cue scary music)...

...Sisko's baseball. See you next year! Or, for the purposes of this liveblog, see you in about ten minutes.

22:02: "In memory of Brandon Tartikoff", the Paramount executive who green-lit The Next Generation in 1986.

22:03: We're still looking at scenes from the previous episode. Remember back when they had to do this?

22:04: "And now, the continuation". That's a phrase that only was said on Deep Space Nine. A battered Starfleet/Klingon task force retreats to safety while O'Brian complains.

22:05: Why is Garak still on the Defiant? Sure, he can "study star charts" but he's not Starfleet personnel. In fact, he's not even from the Cardassian military. He was an intelligence officer.

22:06: Is Bashir "showing off" by using his super-enhanced brain, or are the writers just being lazy? I'd say the latter. We already have Dax doing the Spock "recite the odds" thing, we don't need another one.

22:07: Speaking of Vulcans, Garak accuses Bashir of being one. These same arguments will be used by Bashir against the "Jack Pack" in "Statistical Probabilities" later this season.

22:08: "You get married the way you want" Dax says to Sisko. He will. Against Starfleet wishes.

22:09: Why is Bashir the only one who's dirty? Why is Sisko able to break the table? Opening credits...

22:12: "Permanent documentation file". I'm glad I don't live in the Star Trek universe, it seems like everybody has to record captain's logs and personal logs repeatedly. Odo made fun of that fact in one episode, apparently he's the only one in the universe.

22:13: The Bajorans are coming back! Weyoun has a vision of the station that sounded like what Sean Penn claimed pre-war Iraq was like. Kira wants the Bajoran security officers to be reinstated, and Weyoun is cool with it. Dukat refuses though. Weyoun promises the security guards will be reinstated...eventually.

22:14: Poor Weyoun. He's desperate to win Odo's affections. Try having a bumpy nose and a nice rack...

22:15: Weyoun kicks Damar out of the room and insists that Dukat consults him on future decisions. He doesn't like having to tell a Dominion ally "no".

22:17: Quark is trying to get the table-hogging Jem'Hadar soldiers in the spirit of the bar/casino, and it's just not working. They don't want holosuites, they don't want the dabo tables. I kept waiting for the "maybe Vorta are sex maniacs" talk from Leeta, I guess it's not in this episode.

22:19: "As occupations go, this one isn't that bad". Compared to the Cardassians running the station, Quark notes that Terok Nor used to be a worse place to be. There's no outward sign of problems on the station (other than no Bajoran security officers). Everything is clean and well behaved.

22:21: Hi Admiral Ross! While at Regula One Starbase, Sisko is relieved of command of the Defiant.

22:22: Hi Admiral Cartwright! Brock Peters has come back to the Star Trek franchise to yell at Sisko for not sending a fleet to rescue an 18 year old who dreams of being a journalist. I keep forgetting he was already in season four episodes.

22:24: Sisko Sr. says space is so big and infinite...so why can't all these galactic powers be happy with the territory they already have? Good line. Now he should ask why ships always meet along the same plane when meeting in space.

22:26: Jake tries to interview "Mr. Weyoun" for his articles, but Weyoun doesn't like Jake's biased reporting and "pejorative terminology" and therefore he has blocked transmission of Jake's articles. Weyoun insists that Jake will need a "more balanced" perspective if he wants his news reports to make it to Federation space. At least Jake isn't writing "Dominion propaganda" after receiving $150 million annually...

22:28: Starfleet is using the stolen Dominion destroyer to infiltrate Dominion space and destroy the Ketracel-white facilities. Nog and O'Brien discuss the issues with the ship: no chairs, no infirmary, no replicators, and no viewscreen.

22:30: They brought Garak on this mission too? The whole joy of Garak is when he's used in small doses. Without a viewscreen, only Sisko can see what it looks like outside with that eye-thingy.

22:31: How does the door in Sisko/Dukat's office know not to open because Dukat hasn't "dismissed" Kira yet? Dukat does the usual thing he does with Kira, trying to get on her good side so that he can get in that elusive "mother and daughter" screw. It also know when he steps in front of the door that he wants to block her rather than walk out through it.

22:34: Dukat figures that the worst thing in the galaxy is Cardassia as a "third rate power", and now he dreams of the Dominion turning the Alpha Quadrant (Bajor, Earth, all of it) to him, and naked Kira as a handy side dish. Now the door knows to open.

22:35: Sisko needed a shot to get over the headaches caused by the Jem'Hadar headsets, and Garak notes that Cardassians have been seen to use them. I think he just senses deep down inside that Gul Dukat is treating his baseball like the top from Inception

22:37: The USS Centaur has opened fire on them, and followed them across the border. Sisko uses baseball analogies and the weapons array to disable the ship. Unfortunately, the real Jem'Hadar are chasing after "Charlie", the Centaur's captain.

22:39: The Jem'Hadar are receiving their daily dose of the Ketracel White drug, and Dukat has finally combed the messy hair he used to try and seduce Kira. Dukat tries to figure out the specific hierarchy of the Dominion, and Weyoun insists that everybody serves the Founders. Odo (a Founder) arrives at Kira's behest to ask for his security services. Weyoun consents without the slightest hesitation...but then asks Odo to join Weyoun and Dukat on the Ruling Council.

22:41: Is Odo on the council a good idea? Dukat doesn't like it, so Odo thinks it will be good based on that alone. Kira is less sure, but Odo talks her into accepting it. She's scared that Odo on the council legitimizes the invasion.

22:42: Starfleet's Jem'Hadar destroyer watches a real destroyer load up on White, and then plans to repeat it themselves...and beam down a bomb.

22:43: As our heroes make the exchange, the base raises its shields. 90 seconds to go to warp or we're all dead.

22:45: Sisko's plan is to time their escape so that they pass the security net just as their bomb goes off...just like Bashir requests: 1.3 seconds before detonation. This is kind of tense.

22:46: Things didn't go as planned. The bomb went off ahead of schedule, and the ship is in one piece...mostly. Deflectors and navigation are down, and the warp engines are gone forever. That means a 17 year trip back to a starbase, which means they are...pretty close, since that means going less than lightspeed. Bashir should have really answered "56,312,092 years" or something.

22:47: And that's the episode...ends on a bit of a downer for a season opener, but then Season 6 will be that sort of season.