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Recap / Star Trek: Deep Space Nine S04E23 "To the Death"

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When a renegade faction of Jem'Hadar discover a powerful Iconian gateway, the Federation crew have to join forces with the Dominion to stop them.

This episode marks the first appearance of Weyoun, and also the last appearance of this particular Weyoun. The Vorta only became a clone race because the showrunners loved Jeffrey Combs' performance in this episode.

This episode provides examples of:

  • Action Prologue: Downplayed—we don't see the attack on the station, just the aftermath.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: A panicked Quark appears in the aftermath, showing genuine worry about Rom's safety.
    Quark: Oh, what a relief... Wait 'til I find him, I'll kill him for scaring me like that!
  • Badass Boast: Omet'iklan promises to kill Sisko once the mission is over, as he sees him as a weak leader for not killing Worf. Worf hears about this and promises Sisko that if the First succeeds, he won't live long to boast about it.
  • Badass Creed:
    Omet'iklan: I am First Omet'iklan, and I am dead. As of this moment, we are all dead. We go into battle to reclaim our lives. This, we do gladly, for we are Jem'Hadar. Remember - victory is life.
    Jem'Hadar: Victory is life.
    • Followed by a Starfleet version:
      Miles O'Brien: I am Chief Miles Edward O'Brien, I am very much alive and intend to stay that way.
      Sisko: Amen, let's get it done!
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  • Badass Bystander: One of the Redshirts during the climax fights off two Jem'hadar at once in the background.
  • Bad Liar: Odo, according to Weyoun. Being a self-professed expert in lies, he would know.
  • Blood Knight: Omet'iklan grins as he stabs some of the renegade Jem'Hadar.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: When Toman'torax (the Jem'Hadar Second) gets in a fight with Worf, both are punished. However, the Omet'iklan kills his second as punishment, and calls Sisko weak for not killing Worf, who is confined to quarters when not on duty for the remainder of the mission. This also extends to other areas, as the episode serves to showcase the Jem'Hadar mentality.
    • Works both ways. Starfleet doesn't understand the Jem'hadar mentality. But the Jem'hadar are heavily genetically engineered and can be rapidly "grown" to a battle-ready adult in a matter of days. There's no training, no investment (their training is basically programmed in). Killing one is no big deal, and their constant deployment in combat means that none of them has ever lived past 30 (a 20 year old Jem'hadar is an "honored elder"). If you need more troops you grow another batch. But for Starfleet, it takes years to train officers, and then many more years to get the experience they need (to say nothing of the time it takes for most sentient species to mature to the point where they can start their training). The Jem'hadar don't understand the Starfleet mentality (and why killing a seasoned officer for a minor disciplinary issue would be a bad idea) because they don't understand the concept of training, experience, and comaraderie as they don't experience such things, nor do they have any concept of morale.
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  • Casual Danger Dialogue: Dax and Virak'kara during the assault.
    Dax: Virak'kara, you still there?!
    Virak'kara: For a little while longer!
  • Call-Back: The Iconian gateways reappear from the TNG episode, "Contagion." Worf later recalls his experience and what the Enterprise crew was forced to do.
  • Dispense with the Pleasantries: Sisko isn't impressed with Weyoun's hollow pleasantries.
  • Enemy Mine: The only time that Starfleet and the Dominion work together to defeat a mutual threat.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Weyoun's first scene with Sisko has him providing flattering remarks and offering to install him as absolute ruler of the Federation.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Omet'iklan makes it clear to Sisko that, while he hates the Federation, the only thing he hates more are renegade Jem'Hadar.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: After Sisko saves Omet'iklan from one of the renegades.
    Omet'iklan: I threatened to kill you, but you were still willing to sacrifice yourself to save my life.
    Sisko: Looks that way.
    Omet'iklan: Why?
    Sisko: If you have to ask, you'll never understand.
  • Expendable Clone: Weyoun (4) is killed in the very same episode that he is introduced in, but that's okay because the Vorta are all mass-produced clones. (Though it's notable that they only became a race of clones to bring back Jeffrey Combs because of his performance in this episode. At the time the assumption was naturally that Weyoun had been Killed Off for Real.)
  • Foreshadowing: It is mentioned that Odo will one day be punished for killing a fellow Changeling.
  • Funny Background Event: When Worf and Toman'torax fight in the mess hall, Weyoun can be seen keeping his distance while cradling the ketracel-white repository.
  • Good Is Not Soft:
    • Omet'iklan chides Sisko for not having the stomach to kill Worf for defying his orders—saying the unit comes first. Sisko retorts that killing a subordinate for such a thing would prevent that person from learning from the mistake, as well as jeopardize the morale of his team and the trust they have in him.
    • Later, when they attack the base camp, Omet'iklan asks Sisko if he wants to call off the mission because they've lost the element of surprise and their weapons are not working. Sisko's response? Pick up a Jem'Hadar pole arm and lead the charge into the camp.
  • Honor Before Reason: Toman'torax immediately confesses to Omet'iklan his role in starting the fight—knowing full well of the punishment he's likely to receive.
  • I Shall Taunt You: Toman'torax just can't help taunting anyone in a Starfleet uniform. He ends up Bullying a Dragon when he gets Worf pissed off.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: During a training exercise, Omet'iklan told the Starfleet side that there would be three Jem'Hadar soldiers on guard duty per their usual training. They take two, but they can't find the third and then fail the exercise. Omet'iklan reveals there was no third guard and chides the Starfleet officers—saying that nothing in battle is ever a certainty. When the actual mission begins, things quickly don't go to plan due to variables that no training could account for.
  • Let Me Get This Straight...:
    Jadzia: We're going to work with the Jem'Hadar to fight the Jem'Hadar.
    • She does it again after learning about the Jem'Hadar:
      "So let me get this straight: no sleep, no food, no women. No wonder you're so angry."
  • Mandatory Line: Kira, Bashir, and Quark only appear in the teaser. Kira is injured during the attack and stays to coordinate relief and defense. Bashir stays to take care of the wounded. Quark briefly appears calling for his brother.
  • Not So Similar: While both were spoiling for a fight, Worf only engaged Toman'torax to defend O'Brien from the Jem'Hadar's harassment.
  • Oh, Crap!: The assault team realizes that their weapons aren't working, seconds before the rogue Jem'Hadar show up.
  • Older Than They Look: After getting into a discussion about his own age:
    Virak'kara: How old are you?
    Jadzia: I stopped counting at 300.
    Virak'kara: You don't look it.
    Jadzia: Thank you.
  • Portal Door: The Iconian gateway connects to an instantanious Portal Network that had allowed the Iconians to rule an empire 200k years ago, so the danger of the Jem'Hadar getting control of it is even more pronounced as a result.
  • The Profiler: According to Weyoun, Sisko's psychological profile is required reading for all Vorta.
    Weyoun: I probably know things about you you don't know yourself!
    • Subverted when the profile appears to indicate that Sisko would be open to an offer to be installed by the Dominion as the sole ruler of the Federation, only a few episodes after Sisko stopped a coup d'etat on Earth.
      • The original script for the scene has the line of how Weyoun "didn't expect to turn Sisko but had to try."
    • Fridge Brilliance: It's obviously not a serious offer, but Weyoun is trying to see what makes Sisko tick.
  • Running Gag: Again, Dax cannot keep a secret.
  • Serious Business: How the Jem'Hadar view the white distribution, much to Weyoun's annoyance.
  • Smarter Than You Look: Weyoun's Jem'Hadar knew about the gateway all along, much to his surprise.
  • Soldier vs. Warrior: The difference between Starfleet and the Jem'Hadar is defined here. The Jem'Hadar fight "to reclaim their lives," whereas Starfleet fights to obtain an objective.
  • Stating the Simple Solution: O'Brien suggests blowing up the Iconian facility from orbit instead of launching a ground assault. Unfortunately, the building is made of neutronium, so even a barrage of quantum torpedoes wouldn't destroy it.
  • Taking the Bullet: Sisko takes a hit from an enemy Jem'Hadar to save Omet'iklan, but it's a non-fatal wound.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: The Jem'Hadar and the Defiant crew are only united by the desire to wipe out the renegades and make it explicitly clear (More-so on the Jem'Hadar's side) that if they were not on this mission that they would kill the other side in a heartbeat. Sisko also makes several snide remarks to sew dissent between Weyoun and Omet'iklan.
  • This Is My Chair: When Bashir sits down in the mess hall, Dax and O'Brien warn him that he's sitting in Worf's favorite seat. Bashir is unimpressed—until Worf and his Death Glare show up.
  • Undying Loyalty: Omet'iklan tells Weyoun that the Jem'Hadar are more loyal to the Founders than the Vorta will ever be.
  • Unfriendly Fire: Omet'iklan shoots Weyoun for questioning the Jem'Hadar's loyalty to the Dominion.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: The Jem'Hadar are ready to kill Sisko and his crew for saving their lives. Weyoun has to order them not to.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: The Starfleeters and the Jem'Hadar plan out and rehearse the operation step-by-step. As soon as they beam down to carry it out for real, things start going wrong, forcing them to improvise.
  • Video Wills: Dax and O'Brien record them. O'Brien hopes that Keiko and Molly don't end up hearing his.
  • We Can Rule Together: Weyoun asks Sisko what he would say to being absolute ruler of The Federation. Sisko naturally rejects the offer and Weyoun says "Just doing my job."
  • We Have Reserves: Omet'iklan effectively says during training that the best course of action is to detonate the explosives while still in the room, something O'Brien is appalled at. Given that the Jem'Hadar are supersoldiers who are grown to battle-ready status in three days, you can see why the First would prefer this course of action.
  • Wham Shot: DS9 with one of its docking pylons blown off.
  • Worthy Opponent: Omet'iklan ends up being impressed by Starfleet and compliments them on how well they fought.
  • You Have Failed Me: Reconstructed when Omet'iklan executes Toman'torax for failing to follow his orders. Omet'iklan says they had served together for three years, so he knew of Toman'torax's value and ability. However, following orders is essential to their way of life, so Omet'iklan executes him as a reminder to the others of the consequences of disregarding that.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Weyoun was gonna pull this on his Jem'Hadar, who promptly kill him once the mission is over because he had outlived his usefulness.
  • Younger Than They Look: The Jem'Hadar that talks to Jadzia is eight, saying the species is able to fight by their third day of life and that living to age 20 grants "Honored Elder" status.

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