Recap / Star Trek Deep Space Nine S 07 E 25 E 26 What You Leave Behind
The one-and-a-half-hour series finale to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

After a series of Federation victories, the Dominion retreats to Cardassian space to repair and rebuild. Not content with a mere cease-fire, the combined forces of the Federation, the Romulans, and the Klingon Empire decide to make a final push to invade Cardassia Prime and end the war, once and for all. On Cardassia, Damar's revolution is in full swing, and Kira's commando team attempts to break into Dominion headquarters and take the founder hostage. When the dying female Changeling discovers that the entire planet has betrayed the Dominion, she decides that the only fitting punishment is the extermination of the Cardassian race.

And on Bajor, Kai Winn and Gul Dukat go to the forbidden Fire Caves to resurrect the Pah Wraiths and bathe the entire Alpha Quadrant in purifying flame. Stopping all of this carnage is going to take a miracle, but fortunately Captain Sisko has the Prophets on his side. Unfortunately, the assistance of the Prophets is never free, and the time has come for Sisko to pay back his debts to the mysterious wormhole gods. Blood will be spilled, tears will be shed, and questions will be answered in the final episode of DS9.

Tropes in this episode:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: Damar's resistance group, when Garak points out they're ready to storm the headquarters of the Dominion but can't because their breach chargers aren't sufficiently powerful enough to break through the door.
  • A God Am I: Gul Dukat, after the release of the Pah Wraiths.
  • Bad Boss: As the Dominion's situation gets worse, and the disease takes its toll on her, the Female Changeling can do little more than yell and berate her subordinates.
  • Bait-and-Switch Gunshot: The Jem'Hadar have Kira, Garak, and Damar lined up for execution, aim their guns...and get shot by the Cardassians behind them.
  • Battle Cry: FOR CARDASSIA!
  • Big Badass Battle Sequence: But of course.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Dominion is defeated. However, Worf and O'Brien leave for new assignments, Odo returns to his people, Garak's homeworld allows him back but has been devastated by the Jem'Hadar, and Sisko is forced to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence.
    Female Changeling: You may win this war, commander, but I promise you: when it is over, you will have lost so many ships, so many lives, that your "victory" will taste as bitter as defeat.
  • Brick Joke: O'Brien finding Colonel Travis, who'd been lost for several episodes.
  • But Now I Must Go: Odo returns to the Great Link, Sisko joins the Prophets.
  • Call Back:
    • Kira threatens Quark the same way she did way back in the first episode, "Emissary".
    • In the previous season finale, Martok promised Sisko and Admiral Ross that within a year, they'll drink bloodwine on Cardassia Prime. Here he fulfills that promise, though Sisko and Ross are unnerved by the genocide around them to celebrate.
    • The Female Changeling told Weyoun that bringing Odo back to the Great Link was more important than conquering the Alpha Quadrant. She ends up sacrificing that conquest in exchange for Odo's return, proving that she meant what she said.
  • Capital Offensive: The Federation Alliance sends its fleets to Cardassia Prime, with the aim of ending the war.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Just before the battle starts, Weyoun notes that the Dominion's lines are stretched too thin at the center. Their headquarters lose power before they can dispatch reinforcements. Durin the battle, Sisko points out this weakness, leading Admiral Ross and Martok to hit the center.
  • Continuity Nod: The first city that the Dominion nukes is Lakarian City, which was home to an amusement park that Dukat wanted to take his son to in "Defiant."
  • Deus ex Machina: The prophets teleport Sisko out of the fire pit. Justified due to them doing this kind of thing throughout the series.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Kira killed a Breen and took the outfit to be able to move about on Cardassia.
  • Drink Order: Chancellor Martok is ready to celebrate the victory over Cardassia with a barrel of bloodwine, vintage 2309.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: When the Female Founder orders the Cardassians' annihilation, Weyoun is visibly unnerved, saying only "That's going to take some time..."
  • Everyone Has Standards: Drinking blood wine after the genocide of Cardassians is too much for the Federation officers. Martok snorts, "Humans..." before taking a gulp.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: The Female Changeling resists surrendering on the grounds that it would be an open invitation for the solids to destroy the Great Link. Odo insists that the Federation, while not perfect, is not interested in conquering the Changelings and would never allow the Klingons or Romulans to do so.
  • Famous Last Words: Originally, Damar was going to be killed off without any last words. Casey Biggs felt he should say something, hence Damar's last words are "Keep...". To this day, he has no idea how he would have finished the sentence.
    • Kira decided he would have said "going" and told his shocked insurrectionists to not falter and to what they came to do.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: Dukat goes to Pah-Wraith Hell.
  • Friendly Enemy:
    Odo: Thank you for seeing me.
    Female Changeling: It's always good to see you.
  • Final Solution: How the female changeling decides to deal with the rebelling Cardassians.
  • Genocide Backfire: the Female Changeling orders a major Cardassian city to be wiped out by orbital bombardment as an example, and announces that the Dominion will destroy one city for every act of sabotage committed. After hearing this, however, the entire Cardassian fleet does an abrupt Heel–Face Turn in favor of The Federation instead, as well as getting many Cardassian soldiers on-planet to defect.
  • Graceful Loser: Despite being Defiant to the End, after Odo melds with her, the Female Changeling does a complete about-face and surrenders without a second thought and graciously. Chiefly, because Odo makes a deal with her: surrender and I'll return to the Great Link (something she genuinely ached for him to do) and cure our people.
  • Grand Finale: With all the fixings. Space battles, flashback montages, and one more goddamn Vic Fontaine song performed in its entirety.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: Winn, after seeing Dukat restored and ranting about how he and the Pah Wraiths are going to set the galaxy ablaze, suddenly has a change of heart and tries to help Sisko first by trying to destroy the book and then telling Sisko to destroy it before the Pah Wraith-empowered Dukat slams the door right in her face, however.
    Dukat: Are you still here? (Kai Winn is engulfed in flames) Farewell, Adami.
  • Heel–Face Turn: The entire Cardassian fleet.
  • "Hell, Yes!" Moment: For the Federation during the Cardassians' Heel–Face Turn.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: What did you expect from a Grand Finale? Damar, of course, doesn't make it. There's also Sisko, but he gets rescued by the Prophets.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • The door to the Dominion HQ cargo door was too strong for the explosives Garak brought to break through. The resistance was stuck outside until the puppet Cardassian leader was being dragged out that door to be killed. With the door open and a bit of surprise, Kira, Garak, and the resistance was able to make it inside.
    • On the orders to kill all the Cardassians, Weyoun sent all but a handful of guards left to actually defend the HQ.
  • Human Sacrifice: Winn poisons Dukat as part of the ritual. Unfortunately for her, the Pah Wraiths find a kindred spirit with Dukat.
  • I Can't Believe I'm Saying This:
    Admiral Ross: I never thought I'd say this, but thank God for the Cardassians.
  • I Shall Return: Sisko tells Kasidy he'll return from the Prophets' plane of existence someday.
  • It's Like I Always Say: The final line of the show:
    Quark: It's like I said—the more things change, the more they stay the same.
  • Killed Off for Real: Mila, Damar, Broca (who wasn't around for long), Kai Winn, the last Weyoun clone.
    Female Changeling: I wish you hadn't done that. He was the Weyoun's last clone.
    Garak: (eyes glittering) I was hoping you'd say that!
  • Kneel Before Zod: Pah!Dukat forces Sisko on his knees.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Cardassia Prime lies in ruins, not unlike Bajor at the start of the series. Martok lampshades it:
    Martok: Bajorans would call this 'poetic justice'.
    • A depressed Garak also acknowledges this—saying Cardassians have a history of arrogant aggression.
  • Last Episode Theme Reprise: All over the place.
  • Last Minute Hook Up: The episode begins with Ezri and Bashir in bed.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Just look at the number of guest stars listed after the opening titles!
  • Man Hug: How O'Brien and Bashir say goodbye.
  • Most Common Card Game: Quark and Vic play a hand of Go Fish simply because there's nothing else for them to do. Vic cheats.
  • Morning Sickness: Kasidy, who found out she was pregnant in the last episode, spends much of his appearance in the teaser throwing up or getting ready to throw up.
  • Never Found the Body: When reports come to the Founder that Damar is alive despite the destruction of La Résistance last episode, she mentions this trope.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Dukat voices his disappointment that the "Fire Caves" have very little actual fire in them. Kai Win, however, quickly corrects that.
  • Oh Crap!: Weyoun's reaction to the Cardassians' Heel–Face Turn.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: The Pah Wraiths and by extension, Dukat.
  • Pet the Dog: The Female Changeling calls Weyoun "The only solid I have ever trusted." The look on his face...
  • Pyrrhic Victory: The Female Changeling intended to invoke this by dying, or being killed, but still not recinding the order to the Jem'Hadar to stop fighting.
  • Rank Up: Nog ends the series as a Lieutenant, Junior Grade.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    Sisko: You are pathetic.
    Dukat: Then why are you the one on your knees?
    Sisko: First the Dominion, now the Pah Wraiths. You have a talent for picking the losing side.
  • Redemption Equals Death: For Damar, and over 800 million other Cardassians.
  • Retirony: Sisko didn't get to build his house. He didn't even finish the model.
  • Revenge by Proxy: Damar's resistance caused massive problems, so the Female Changeling orders the civilians to pay the price. To start with, they destroy an entire city roughly 2 million dead.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: This is what happens to The Quisling from the Cardassians to the Dominion (Damar's successor as head of the puppet government) after the Cardassians betray the Dominion.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: When the Dominion kill Mila, whom Garak cared about deeply, he tells Kira that he now has a very personal reason to see the Dominion destroyed: revenge.
    Kira: That works, too.
  • Shiny New Australia: The Female Changeling promises the Breen Earth as a reward. Weyoun is happy to find out she's lying - he wanted it for himself.
  • Stock Footage: Almost the entire climatic battle to take Cardassia Prime is represented by stock footage from the previous season's "Sacrifice of Angels" two-parter, as they had spent nearly the entire remaining visual effects budget for this season on "The Changing Face of Evil," and had next to nothing left for this story. This notably has the effect of the new Defiant having the same registry as its predecessor (NX-74205) rather than the intended one (NCC-74205-A).
  • Storm the Castle: Literally with Kira's commandos storming Dominion headquarters, and IN SPACE with the Federation Alliance finally attacking Cardassia Prime.
  • Stranger in a Familiar Land: Garak's exile is officially over, but the Cardiassia he knew is gone. He laments that many of their best minds and much of their rich culture are gone.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: When it is clear the Cardassians won't fall in line, the Female Changeling orders the death of every Cardassian and destruction of every city. When it is all over, an estimated 800 million dead and the casualty reports are still coming in.
  • Traveling at the Speed of Plot: The Dukat/Winn subplot moves concurrently with the main action, even though the final battle against the Dominion takes place over, at least, a few days.
    • Justified at the end when Quark is placing bets on who will be the next Kai, as several days must have passed between Kira taking Odo back to the Founders' homeworld, allowing people to realize that Kai Winn was missing or likely dead.
  • Un-Person: Meta-example. Jadzia Dax is curiously omitted from the flashbacks, particularly Worf's, despite (technically) still living on in Ezri. Apparently this was because, thanks to using some voice clips of Terry Farrell earlier in the season without permission, the show couldn't get the rights to show her images in the finale.
  • Visual Pun: During Vic's performance of "The Way You Look Tonight", he looks directly at Kira when he sings "the laugh that wrinkles your nose", and she smiles in response.
  • What A Senseless Waste Of Cardassian Life: Martok raises a toast on the Cardassian streets... while surrounded by the bodies of the Dominion's victims. Sisko and Admiral Ross don't have it in them to celebrate such a gruesome slaughter, and pour out their drinks.
  • Wham Shot: The massive Dominion fleet orbiting Cardassia Prime.

Quark: It's like I said. The more things change, the more they stay the same.