The Defiant crew crash-lands their captured Dominion fighter only to find themselves in conflict with a Jem'Hadar crew that crashed there two days previously. Forced into a kill-or-be-killed situation, Sisko and friends discover that the loyalty of the Jem'Hadar to the Dominion transcends strategy, deception, and even betrayal. And a shocking demonstration forces Kira to realize that she is transforming into the one thing she hates most.
This episode contains examples of:
- Bittersweet Ending: Sisko's crew survives and with a major Dominion prisoner, but lost one of their own and had a pointless fight with the Jem'Hadar. Vedek Yassim commits suicide, which forces Kira to realize she has to do something against the new Occupation.
- Call Back:
- Dirty Coward: Keevan might be the most contemptible Vorta ever. Oh, he'll get his.
- Kira comes to see herself as this by the end of the episode.
- Explosive Instrumentation: A console explodes in Dax's face and knocks her to the deck. Fortunately, she's a main character, so she survives.
- Famous Last Words:
- "EVIL MUST BE OPPOSED!"
- "Our death is glory to the Founders."
- Hate Sink: Keevan. He's meant to be a despicable character from the beginning, hated by the characters and audience alike. He's a marked contrast with the far more honorable Remata'klan.
- Heel Realization: Vedek Yassim's suicide causes Kira to come to this.
- Hypocritical Humor: O'Brien can say "damn", but he tells Nog "watch your mouth!" when Nog does it back.
- Lured into a Trap: The Jem'Hadar—by their Vorta leader. And they know it, but they still walk into it, because it's the "order of things."
- MacGyvering: In-Universe, Starfleet Engineers have apparently achieved this version of Memetic Badass status, as according to Keevan, they can "turn rocks into replicators."
- My Country, Right or Wrong: The Jem'Hadar...Up to Eleven.
- Pass the Popcorn: The Jem'Hadar are quite curious about Bashir performing surgery on their Vorta.
- Precision Crash: Despite being completely out of control, our heroes manage to crash within walking distance of another Jem'Hadar ship that crashed several days earlier.
- On top of that, said Jem'Hadar are suffering a critical shortage of ketracel-white, which Sisko's crew had obtained plenty of during their infiltration mission. But, it sank to the bottom of a lake, so it won't be usable.
- Prisoner Exchange: Garak and Nog are released in exchange for Sisko and Bashir.
- Red Shirt: Lieutenant Neeley and Ensign Gordon were never seen after this episode, though Neeley defies the trope by surviving.
- Skewed Priorities: They've crashed on a barren planet, have no means to call for rescue and face the possibility of the Dominion finding them, but then the other shoe drops: O'Brien tore his pants.Sisko: (cracking up) You... You tore your pants?
O'Brien: (realizing) Yeah, I tore my pants. (everyone starts laughing) I guess... I guess I'm really in trouble now!
- Smarter Than You Look: Remata'Klan says this of all Jem'Hadar."Despite what Keevan may think, the Jem'Hadar are often one step ahead of the Vorta."
- Take It to the Bridge: Where Garak and Nog are released in exchange for Sisko and Bashir.
- Tension-Cutting Laughter: As their ship sinks into the sea, Sisko and crew swim onto the desolate shore of an uninhabited world with a severely injured comrade and no idea how they'll get back. And then O'Brien bursts out in dismay that he tore his pants.Sisko: You—you tore your pants?
O'Brien: [realizing the absurdity] Yeah! I tore my pants! I guess I'm really in trouble now!
[everyone dissolves into helpless giggling]
- Undying Loyalty: Despite knowing that Keevan is setting them up, none of the Jem'Hadar go against orders.Sisko: Keevan doesn't deserve the unwavering loyalty you're giving him.
Remata'Klan: He does not have to earn my loyalty, Captain. He has had it from the moment I was conceived. I am a Jem'Hadar. He is a Vorta. It is the order of things.
Sisko: Do you really want to give up your life for the 'order of things'?
Remata'Klan: It is not my life to give up, Captain – and it never was.
- Unfriendly Fire: Discussed. In a Call Back to "To the Death", Sisko suggests that Remata'klan frag Keevan the way Omet'iklan fragged Weyoun 4, but Remata'klan calls this a breakdown of discipline and refuses.
- Wham Shot: The rope around Vedek Yassim's neck."Evil must be opposed!"
- Worthy Opponent: Remata'Klan is arguably one of the most honorable Jem'Hadar ever portrayed.