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Recap / Star Trek: Deep Space Nine S05E01 "Apocalypse Rising"

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No wonder Odo's so glum; he used to be able to do this himself.
"BRAG ALL YOU WANT, BUT DON'T GET BETWEEN ME AND THE BLOODWINE!"
Captain Sisko
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With war heating up between the Federation and the Klingon Empire, Sisko, Worf, O'Brien, and Odo undertake a risky mission to the heart of Klingon space to expose Gowron as a changeling.


Tropes

  • Actually Pretty Funny: Gul Dukat isn't known for his sense of humor, but he finds Sisko and company surgically altered to look like Klingons hilarious.
  • Ape Shall Never Kill Ape: While not openly stated, Martok!Changeling's final actions are to try and kill Odo as well shows, in the eyes of his people, Odo is no longer a true Changeling and thus open for being killed like any solid for the good of the Dominion.
  • Armor-Piercing Question:
    Odo: Tell me, General — did Gowron destroy the polaron emitters, or did you?
  • Batman Gambit: The Changeling's plot is to trick Odo, from the last season's episode, into believing Gowron is a changeling. This will push the Federation to kill him and when they find out he isn't one, removing a good leader from the Klingons and allow Martok!Changeling to take the role of Evil Overlord and rule the Klingons, pushing them harder against the Federation and weakening both so a Dominion Conquest would be that much easier.
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  • Beam Spam/More Dakka: When the Changeling is revealed, every Klingon with a clear line of fire pulls out their disruptor and doesn't stop shooting until it explodes. Qualifies as both tropes because, while the disruptor pistols are energy weapons, they fire distinct bolts instead of continuous beams.
  • Black-Tie Infiltration: The team infiltrates the Order of the Bat'leth initiation ceremony as inductees in order to unmask Gowron as a changeling. They're only half-right.
  • Brick Joke: One of the things that Odo likes about the beer at Quark's is the bubbles. He later laments the lack of bubbles in Klingon bloodwine.
  • Call-Back:
    • Lieutenant Vilix'pran is mentioned to be having another litter of kids. He also apparently got promoted from ensign to lieutenant in the intervening year-and-a-half between episodes.
    • General Chang has a statue in the Hall of Warriors.
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    • A disguised O'Brien and Changeling!Martok meet and speak of a battle that happened during the Klingon Civil War.
  • Can't Hold His Bloodwine: By Klingon standards — after Gowron arrives, one overserved warrior is carried out.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Worf pretty quickly has Gowron on the ropes during their duel, and is on the verge of killing him (after managing to shatter Gowron's bat'leth) before Odo is able to out Martok as the Changeling.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Sisko, O'Brien, and Odo are surgically altered as Klingons. Even Worf has his forehead ridges altered.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Worf does a drill sergeant routine on everyone when teaching them to act Klingon.
  • Drinking Contest: Even the greatest Klingon war heroes are not considered worthy of the Order of the Bat'leth unless they can drink all night.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: How Odo deals with the loss of his shapeshifting powers.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good:
    • Changeling!Martok's refusal to challenge Gowron to honorable combat, and his confusion over why Worf is fighting him with a bat'leth instead of just shooting him (as well as why Gowron accepts Worf's challenge instead of letting his bodyguards deal with him), allow Odo to figure him out.
    • The Founders' plan to dupe the Federation into killing Gowron — and presumably therefore intensifying the war with the Klingons — turns out to be suffering from this. The Federation initially comes up with a plan to expose Gowron as a Changeling rather than just killing him, and when that fails, Worf tries killing Gowron via ritual combat. Had Worf succeeded, then at best the Klingons would have just shrugged it off as him claiming revenge on Gowron for discommendating him, and at worst, Worf would have become the new chancellor (depending on whether or not a discommendated Klingon can claim the chancellorship) and most likely put an immediate end to the war.
  • Fang Thpeak: Klingon!Sisko clearly has some trouble with his new teeth.
  • Fumbling the Gauntlet: Klingon!Sisko has the right attitude for a Klingon (unlike O'Brien and Odo, who struggle to achieve the same level of swagger and confidence), but during the rehearsal Sisko accidentally challenges Worf to a Duel to the Death by backhanding him rather than striking him with the fist. Thankfully, Worf realizes this trope is in play and simply corrects Sisko.note 
  • Haven't You Seen X Before?: When Dukat sees Sisko and his team in disguise.
    Sisko: What's wrong, Dukat? Haven't you ever seen a Klingon before?
    [Sisko and Dukat share wide grins]
  • Hero of Another Story: Or at least Worthy Opponent of another story. This is a ceremony for honoring Klingon war heroes. Every Klingon attending the ceremony is by definition a badass, except possibly the caterers and service staff. Or, knowing Klingons, possibly not even that exception.
  • Holographic Disguise: Dukat apparently uses one to disguise himself as a Klingon. Too bad it picks the wrong time to go off-line.
  • Idiot Ball: Changeling!Martok blows his cover by being confused why Sisko and the others don't just shoot Gowron, and then in front of a hall full of Klingons uses his shapeshifting abilities to strangle Odo right after being accused of being the real Changeling.
  • Jurisdiction Friction: Worf and Kira get into a spat in the beginning over whether or not to take the Defiant to look for the overdue Sisko and Dax. It never gets resolved as Sisko shows up and renders the argument moot, but both have good points. They're equal in ranknote , and while Kira may be Sisko's executive officer on the station, she has no say over the Defiant, which Worf is technically in command of whenever Sisko's not around.
  • Large Ham: Klingon!Sisko really goes to town. After all, a Klingon party is a World of Ham.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: One of the Klingons boasts how he recently killed a Benzenite who happened to be an Academy friend of Sisko, who then introduces the Klingon to the mighty Sisko Fist (under the guise that he was blocking the bloodwine). Fortuituously, this brilliantly reinforces Sisko's Klingon persona.
    Sisko: "BRAG ALL YOU WANT, BUT DON'T GET BETWEEN ME AND THE BLOODWINE!"
  • Let Me Get This Straight...: O'Brien summing up how impossible their mission is.
    O'Brien: So let me get this straight. All we have to do is get past an enemy fleet, avoid a tachyon detection grid, beam into the middle of Klingon headquarters and avoid the Brotherhood of the Sword long enough to set these things up and activate them in front of Gowron.
    Worf: If we succeed, there will be many songs sung in our honor.
    O'Brien: Let's hope we're there to hear them.
  • The Main Characters Do Everything: Apparently Starfleet has none of the espionage or infiltration experts you might expect to investigate Gowron.
  • The Mole: Gowron is believed to be this, until it turns out that it's actually Martok.
  • Multiple Gunshot Death: The Changeling meets his end this way; once it reveals itself in the presence of hundreds of Klingon warriors, every such warrior with a clear shot and a disruptor pistol proceeds to unload on it.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: Worf suggests that the simplest way to prove Gowron is a changeling is to kill him, as changelings revert to their natural form upon death. Starfleet Command already thought of that and nixed the idea. Possibly because they remember what happened the last time Starfleet officers got into the assassination business.
  • Mythology Gag: This episode marks the second time René Auberjonois appears as a character disguised as a Klingon, after Starfleet Colonel West in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Amusingly, their characters had opposite motivations. In Star Trek VI, West was trying to start a war between the Klingon Empire and the Federation. In this episode, Odo is trying to stop the Klingon/Federation War.
  • Never Gets Drunk: Sisko and his cohorts, despite partaking of the bloodwine, have consumed anti-intoxicants which allow them to stay sober.
  • No Kill Like Overkill: When Martok is exposed as a Changeling, the gathered Klingons pop him so full of disruptor fire that he explodes.
  • OOC Is Serious Business:
    • Odo remarks that for a great general like Martok, handling a bat'leth and challenging the impostor to a personal duel to the death, would be in character of a Klingon. The fact he is acting with subterfuge and encouraging Worf, Sisko, and O'Brien to just kill Gowron quickly, helps Odo's deductions.
    • Inverted with Gowron, as Odo notes. A Changeling would likely have no real competency with fighting using Klingon blades and would use his bodyguards to handle a direct threat. The fact Gowron is taking on Worf, challenging him personally and refusing to allow his guards to help, shows Odo he is acting well within character.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: How Odo identifies Martok as the Changeling.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: When Dukat arrives at Klingon headquarters to drop them off, he tells Sisko he's not sticking around (especially not with his holographic filter malfunctioning). He then points out that if Sisko is successful, then the war will be over and they won't need him to return to DS9. If not, then they'll be executed as spies before Dukat can help them.
  • Retcon: At the end of Season 4, the plan really was to simply make Gowron a Changeling, which was changed to a Batman Gambit to hide the real one here.
  • Screw the War, We're Partying!:
    • The Klingons are partying pretty enthusiastically but then they are partying specifically about war.
    • Quark's bar is a subversion on the other hand as business is dropping because of the war.
  • Stunned Silence: Kira screws with Dukat pretty good when she tells him she's pregnant with O'Brien's kid — making sure to purposely leave out the bit about having it transferred from Keiko. Poor Dukat is at a rare loss for words.
  • Taking You with Me: The Martok Changeling attempts to do this with Odo, realizing that the Klingons don't really pay attention to "innocent until proven guilty" and so would be in for a very painful questioning at this accusation.
  • Unfinished, Untested, Used Anyway: Subverted — they never get a chance to field-test the polaron gizmos provided by Starfleet before they're found and destroyed.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Sisko and his staff discuss their plan early in the episode. It hits a few minor snags before completely falling apart.
  • Villain Has a Point: Dukat's justification for why he's leaving everyone at the Klingon headquarters. It's dangerous for him to stay, and if they successful, they won't need his help to get back to DS9. If they fail, he won't be able to save them. Everyone concedes that he is right.
  • Wham Line:
    Odo: Martok's the changeling!
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?:
    • When smuggling the infiltrators in, Dukat's ship is challenged by a picket ship. The plan was to send over a premade holographic disguise in transmission, but the mechanism fails. Dukat says, effectively, "To heck with that" and fires a couple bursts of disruptors, destroying the ship.
    • Martok basically gives this line later in the episode, wondering why they don't simply kill Gowron. Odo at this point realizes that Martok is not acting like a proper Klingon.
      Martok: What are they doing? Why doesn't Sisko just shoot him?
      Odo: I have a better question. Why isn't Gowron letting his bodyguards kill Worf? I'll tell you why: Klingon honor, a concept you should be very familiar with. My people, on the other hand, don't care about honor. How did you put it? "There will be no honorable combat, no formal challenges." Hardly the words of a Klingon. Tell me, General, did Gowron destroy the polaron emitters, or did you?
  • Wrecked Weapon: Worf manages to shatter Gowron's bat'leth at the end of their duel.
  • You Look Familiar: In-Universe — Changeling!Martok almost recognizes O'Brien under his Klingon makeup, only for O'Brien to bluff his way through it by acting pleased that the general recognized him. He then successfully recognizes Sisko.
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