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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

  • 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:
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 rank note , and while Kira maybe Sisko's exec 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • O.O.C. 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 refuses 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 holofilter 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 before they're 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.
  • 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 but the mechanism fails. Dukat says effectively,"To heck with that" and fires a photon torpedo 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 the general recognized him. He then successfully recognizes Sisko.
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