Operation Return, the mission to retake Deep Space Nine from the Dominion is now in full swing. Sisko starts the battle by sending waves to Federation Peregrine Fighters to attack only Cardassian ships. The thought is to draw the Cardassian ships out of position so that the Federation ships can get through. Only problem is that Dukat is as much as a tactician as Sisko. He sees through the ruse almost immediately, and plots to give Sisko his opening, and close it on them in order to surround and outflank them. Dukat also hears from Damar, who points out that Rom likely had associates and that it would be a good idea for them to arrest Kira, Jake, and Leeta, at least until the minefield is down. The three join Rom behind force fields in the Security office, leaving only Quark to help them.
Dukat then orders several wings of Cardassian ships to break off and attack. The hole that Sisko wanted is created, however they note the formation of several other Cardassian ships, and know that Dukat is trying to lure them into a trap. Unfortunately, with the minefield due to come down in several hours, Sisko knows that Trap Is the Only Option, and deploys the fleet to proceed through the Dominion Ranks. By this time, Dukat is already toasting his victory over the Federation with Weyoun. Weyoun calls this celebration premature, and says that the minefield is yet to come down. Weyoun is also wondering how the Dominion can control the entire Alpha Quadrant. One of his ideas is to annihilate Earth, and eradicate its population, an action that Dukat disagrees with. In Dukat's view, victory is not about inflicting the higher death toll, but your enemy capitulating by saying that they were wrong to oppose you in the first place. His comments echo his attitude during the Occupation of Bajor. Rather than currently being known as a brutal dictator who killed scores of Bajorans, he prefers to view himself as a protector of Bajorans during the occupation. Weyoun is actually amused by Dukat's narcissism and ego. Meanwhile, Odo and the Female Changeling are discussing the battle, and the Female Changeling notes the Federation's impending defeat. Thinking that she has finally changed Odo to her side, she casually mentions the impending execution of Kira's resistance cell, along with Kira herself. By doing so, she believes that Odo will never be encumbered by his feelings for Kira. However, Odo is horrified at this idea, but the Female Changeling says that Kira's fate has already been set and there is nothing that Odo can do.
Back to the battle, things are getting worse for the Defiant. Its two escorts have been destroyed, and the Defiant itself is being pursued by three Jem'Hadar fighters. But green fire bolts rain down on the Dominion ships; the Klingons finally join the fray. Gowron's delays have provided a benefit to the Federation ships, not only are the Dominion taken completely off guard by their attack, but their attack has opened a real hole in their lines, one that the Defiant and three Birds of Prey are trying to take advantage of. But despite destroying a Jem'Hadar dreadnought, the Defiant succeeds in breaking through the Dominion lines alone, the three Birds of Prey destroyed in the process. The Defiant immediately warps to Deep Space Nine. Weyoun, seeing this, wants the Dominion to intecept, but Dukat is in no rush to do so. If Sisko wants to commit suicide by running to Deep Space Nine alone, he is welcome to do so, Dukat states.
Meanwhile, Quark confronts Ziyal in her quarters, and asks if she can make a Hasperat Souffle. Next thing you know, Ziyal and Quark take the Souffle to the Security office and ask to give the Souffle to Kira. The Guard there seems to have watched a few Terran movie productions where a means to escape is concealed in some pastry. He's only partially correct though: the Souffle is meant to help with an escape attempt but it is in the form of a hypospray that Ziyal uses to sedate the guard while he is pre-occupied with the Souffle. After Quark kills two Jem'Hadar soldiers, Ziyal frees the prisoners and they book it. Kira and Rom decide their next step is to get to the main computer to shut it down, preventing anyone from firing the station's weapons. On the way to do so, however, they are accosted by several Dominion guards and pinned down. Bajoran weapons fire is heard, and while Kira wonders aloud why the Dominion would be using Bajoran weaponry, the weapons fire stops. Kira steps out to see Odo and his security forces inspecting their handiwork. Kira wonders why Odo would turn against his people now. Odo's reasoning is simple: the Great Link is indeed paradise, but it is a paradise he is not ready for. Kira and Rom proceed to a junction where Rom tries to disable the main computer. But realizing that they are almost out of time, Kira tells Rom to take the station's weapons offline. Rom is able to do so, but he is too late by a single second: a beam of phaser fire shoots out and detonates the minefield, destroying all the mines.
The crew of the Defiant have this expression of horror as they warp in to see the destruction of the minefield. Unfortunately, Sisko has run out of ideas and decides to hold a Last Stand in the wormhole. As Dax notes: "That's a hell of a Plan B". Weyoun orders the ship destroyed, but Rom's sabotage has at least accomplished one thing: the station is unable to use its weapons against the Defiant. The Defiant enters the Wormhole without incident, and just as Sisko is ready to begin his final battle, the Prophets in the Wormhole want to talk to him.
Simply put the Prophets are unhappy that The Sisko has decided to do this. The Prophets clearly still have plans for The Sisko, but what good are those plans if The Sisko plans to throw his life away? The Sisko is clearly fed up and rips the Prophets a new one: while the Prophets do not care about issues surrounding corporeal matters, what about Bajor? If the Dominion is allowed to win in the Alpha Quadrant, Bajor is all but doomed. In short, why be gods to a civilization that cherishes you, only for you to not help them when they need it the most. In the end, the Prophets agree to assist The Sisko, but at a price to be exacted later. Specifically, that The Sisko is of Bajor, but he will ultimately not be allowed to rest there.
The Prophets return The Sisko to the Defiant where the crew notes that the Dominion ships are dematerializing, and then disappear completely. Some of the crew wonder if the Dominion has deployed a form of cloaking device but Sisko knows that this is the work of the Prophets. The Defiant returns to the Alpha Quadrant, but on board Deep Space Nine, it is the Dominion and Cardassian's turn to have their Mass "Oh, Crap!" Moment when they realize that the fleet that was supposed to assist them has simply disappeared. With the Station's weapons still offline, the Defiant attacking the station, and that 200 Federation and Klingon ships have broken through the Dominion ranks, the writing is on the wall:
The Dominion will now retreat to Cardassian space and everyone makes preparations to withdraw. The only one not doing so is Dukat, who is beyond shocked at this turn of events. On the cusp of total victory against the Federation and Klingons, Dukat has now suffered what is clearly his biggest setback in his career. As if nothing else matters to him, Dukat tries to search for Ziyal so he can take home to Cardassia with him. He is able to locate Ziyal in the Habitat ring but as he pleads for her to come with him to Cardassia, she confesses that she helped sabotage the station by assisting in the escape of Kira, Rom, Jake, and Leeta. But before she can leave, she turns to tell her father that she loves him.
Dukat, overcome with shock, sees that it was Damar who fired the shot. Damar tries desperately to get Dukat to leave the station on the last Cardassian warship remaining, noting that Ziyal confessed her crimes, but Dukat refuses to leave. Instead, he cradles his dying daughter in his arms as the life of Tora Ziyal departs from her body. The breakdown of a man once the former prefect of the station, a man important to Cardassian politics, the man who negotiated Cardassia's entry into the Dominion is now complete. Sisko and his crew board the station, and wonders if Bashir can do something for his sworn enemy, a Cardassian who is now a former shell of himself. Meanwhile, Garak grieves over the death of Ziyal, and wonders why she loved him. Now, he'll never know.
Before Dukat is taken away from the station and into Federation custody as a major prisoner of war, he gives Sisko his baseball back. Deep Space Nine has now returned to the hands of the Federation and its allies.
This episode provides examples of:
- Alas, Poor Villain: Dukat's breakdown after Ziyal's death turns the loathed tyrant into an object of pity and arguably even sympathy, with Sisko suggesting that Dr. Bashir might be able to help Dukat, showing compassion to his longtime enemy.
- Attack Pattern Alpha: Sisko orders the attack fighters to use Tactical Pattern Theta against the Cardassians.
- Awakening the Sleeping Giant: The Dominion had completely ignored the Prophets until this point, using the wormhole as a simple Black Box transportation system. When Sisko stirs them up to defend their adopted people, the Dominion learns to their great cost that it was a mistake to underestimate the gods of Bajor. They only intervene once, but it turns the war around at a stroke.
- Bad Omen Anecdote: O'Brien and Bashir recite part of "Charge of the Light Brigade" before the battle. Given the way the poem ends, it doesn't lift anyone's spirits.Garak: Uh, Chief...how does that poem end?
O'Brien: You don't wanna know.
- Beneath Suspicion: Damar successfully pegs all the existing members of the station's resistance (Kira, Jake, Leeta, as well as the imprisoned Rom), and one potential sympathizer (Ziyal, though Dukat forbids her arrest)...but he never suspects Quark, who by this point is firmly on the resistance's side.
- Big Badass Battle Sequence: At this time, the production staff of DS9 had recently transitioned from filming practical, physical models to using CGI. They took advantage of the new technology to stage one of the largest and most complicated space battles in the history of moving pictures. And then the Klingons join in and it gets really hairy. There are over two-thousand starships involved once the Klingons join in
- Big Damn Heroes: Several in the course of the episode.
- Worf and Martok bringing the Klingon fleet into the battle.
- Odo and his deputies.
- Quark, to even his surprise.
- Big "NO!"/Rapid-Fire "No!": Dukat, when Ziyal is shot, then as she dies in his arms.
- Bittersweet Ending: The Federation retakes Deep Space Nine, Quark frees Rom and the others, Odo chooses saving Kira over the Founder, and the Prophets eliminate the Dominion reinforcements, but Ziyal is killed and Dukat is reduced to a shell of a man.
- Blatant Lies: When Dukat recognizes Sisko's strategy, Weyoun (not to be outdone in front of the Founder) acts like he understands it as well. Dukat wastes little time in calling his bluff by suggesting that he explain it to the Founder, and Weyoun is barely able to dodge a very awkward moment.Dukat: (chuckles) It's a very clever strategy, but then I'd expect nothing less from Captain Sisko.
Weyoun: (clearly not getting it) The captain is a very clever man.
Dukat: You do see it, don't you?
Weyoun: Of course I do.
Dukat: Well, then perhaps you'd like to explain Captain Sisko's strategy to the Founder yourself.
Weyoun: (beat) I could never hope to match your eloquence.
- Bond One-Liner: Odo delivers one after his deputies mow down a Jem'Hadar squad."Never underestimate the element of surprise."
- Break the Haughty: Dukat has been smugly riding his high horse since halfway through season 5. Now he's prematurely celebrating his ultimate victory and lecturing Weyoun that winning is not about killing one's enemies but utterly crushing their spirits. By the end of the episode his own spirit has been through the wringer, leaving him completely broken.
- The Cavalry: The Defiant's escorts have been destroyed, there's a squad of Jem'Hadar fighters hot on their tail...and suddenly, green disruptor fire obliterates those ships. The Klingons decloak and strike hard into the Dominion's flank.
- Chekhov's Gun: Rom manages to disable the station's weapons which prevent Damar from firing on the Defiant. When the Defiant returns, the weapons are still offline, and it is this event that spurs the Dominion to order the evacuation to Cardassian space.
- Chekhov's Gunman: The station's Bajoran security force and their guns.
- Deadpan Snarker:
"Congratulations, Captain! You wanted them angry? They're angry!"
- Garak tries to lighten the mood with some commentary, even as consoles are exploding right next to him.
- Weyoun even gets into the action with his "Time to start packing!" line.
- Decisive Battle: The Federation retakes DS9 and for the first time, the Dominion is forced to retreat.
- Deus ex Machina: As if there was any other way to stop thousands of Jem'Hadar ships... Sisko had to goad the Prophets into doing it though.
- Didn't See That Coming:
- The Dominion were clearly caught out of position when the Klingons attack. The result is a hole opened in their lines in which the Defiant is able to pass through.
- Let's face it, Dukat had no contingency plan in the extremely unlikely event that the Dominion forces simply disappear.
- Died in Your Arms Tonight: Dukat cradles the dying Ziyal in his arms.
- Die Hard on DS9: Quark is the only one who's not detained by Damar, allowing him to free them and help take back the station.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: Dukat complains that neither Sisko or the Bajorans ever respected the effort he put in on their behalf. Weyoun barely humors him, and even laughs when he brings up Sisko.
- Dual Wielding: Quark threatens two Jem'Hadar guards with a phasers in each hand and orders them to open the holding cells. When they decide to try surprising him, Quark shoots them both.
- Easy Logistics: Averted. With conquering the Alpha Quadrant all but assured, Weyoun is already concerned about the logistical nightmare that will be actually garrisoning it.
- EMP: The Dominion fleet generate one to disrupt Starfleet communications.
- Endangered Soufflé: Though not because it was poorly cooked—because the guard's face fell into it.Quark: And now you've ruined it.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Despite his villainy driving her away, Dukat never stops loving Ziyal and her death leaves him in tears. Not even his defeat in this episode does that kind of harm to him.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: The Female Changeling thinks that having Kira executed will make Odo's feelings for her simply go away, and make him more compliant. In reality, it has the opposite effect and causes Odo to turn on the Dominion. Note that "evil" in this context applies specifically to the Female Changeling, as Dukat probably would have told her it was a terrible idea, but she never ran it past him (and probably wouldn't have listened even if he did object).
- Foil: The conversation between Dukat and Weyoun highlights the differences between the former's ego and the latter's pragmatism. Dukat toasts himself for a victory that he hasn't won yet, while Weyoun warns him that their fortunes can still go south. Weyoun then wants to annihilate Earth's population to prevent any rebellions from starting there, while Dukat would rather keep everyone alive so that they can acknowledge his greatness.
- The female changeling predicting that Odo will rejoin the Greak Link eventually.
- The Prophets warn Sisko that their help vanishing the Dominion Fleet comes with a price...
- Friend or Idol Decision: Odo's dilemma between returning to the Great Link or remaining loyal to his solid friends comes to a head, now that his friends' lives or way of life are in peril. He chooses loyalty over the Link.
- Gul Obvious: Damar.Damar: The Defiant has opened fire on us!
- Guns Akimbo: Quark during his Big Damn Heroes moment.
- Gunship Rescue: More accurately, an Armada Rescue. A Klingon armada, with Worf and General Martok at the fore, swoops in just in the nick of time.
- Heel Realization: At the last minute, Odo finally realizes what kind of people the Founders are — and what he's become thanks to their influence.Odo: There are people out there fighting, dying. People who used to be my friends.
Founder: They're solids, Odo. You must remember that.
Odo: I know, but they still mean something to me.
Founder: The Link means more.
Odo: That's what I keep telling myself, but somehow I can't quite believe it.
- Hold the Line: On the Dominion side. The Federation is throwing everything they've got at the station, and the Dominion has to fend them off until they can reopen the wormhole and bring the invasion fleet through.
- Hope Spot: This episode provides one when the Defiant breaks through and Kira and Rom are rescued by Odo. Just as the heroes seem that they are about to prevent the destruction of the minefield, they find out that they are too late.
- Humiliation Conga: Dukat goes from the cusp of victory to not only losing the station, but his daughter and his sanity as well.
- Infraction Distraction: Quark repeatedly asks the Cardassian jail guard not to mess with the Hasperat soufflé he's bringing Kira. This prompts him to inspect it more closely—and Ziyal sedates him.Quark: Now you've ruined it.
- Ironic Echo: Ziyal confesses to her father that she helped sabotage the station. Overhearing this, Damar shoots her without a second thought. Ziyal betrayed her father, making her a traitor and thus an enemy of the state, and as Dukat said in the last episode, "enemies of the state don't deserve mercy".
- Jail Bake: Subverted with the Hasperat soufflé—it doesn't actually contain anything; it's just there to distract the guard while Ziyal hits him with the off-button hypospray.
- Jerkass Has a Point: While shooting the unarmed Ziyal in front of her father was going a step too far, Damar is ultimately right that she did betray Dukat.
- Kansas City Shuffle: When Quark brings a plate of Hasperat soufflé for major Kira in her holding cell, the Cardassian jail guard believes this is a horribly transparent attempt to smuggle something in to help Kira escape. He's seemingly vindicated when Quark gets nervous about him poking at it. But all of this was just a distraction allowing Ziyal to administer a hypospray to knock him out so the two of them could get inside and reach the holding cells.
- Know When to Fold 'Em/Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: With the Federation Alliance winning the battle and Dominion reinforcements not coming, as well as DS9's weapons being knocked offline by sabotage, Weyoun and the Founder rather casually decide it's time to leave DS9.Weyoun: (Claps hands) Time to start packing!
- Last Stand: One ship against 2800, and Sisko orders the Defiant into the wormhole anyway in order to live up to her name.
- Literal-Minded: Holding the Jem'Hadar guards at gunpoint, Quark says "Nobody move!" and then tells them to open the cells. Of course, they don't move, because Quark told them not to.
- Little "No": Odo is already doubting his abandonment of his friends when the female Changeling starts denigrating Kira again, finishing it off with the news that she's going to be executed. His reaction is a horrified "No."
- Madness Mantra: Dukat tells Ziyal "I forgive you" over and over, even after she dies.
- Mass "Oh, Crap!":
- The whole bridge crew aboard the Defiant when they see the minefield blocking the wormhole destroyed.
- The Dominion gets a turn when the Defiant emerges from the wormhole... and the Dominion ships don't.
- Must Make Amends: Odo makes up for his lapse in judgment two episodes ago via a Big Damn Heroes moment, and then covering for Kira and Rom as they attempt to stop the Dominion from destroying the minefield.
- Moral Myopia: Even (or perhaps especially) in the throes of madness, Dukat cannot accept the simple fact that he's the villain in all this; he tells a dead Ziyal that he forgives her treachery, and "forgives" Sisko as well, returning his baseball in what a deranged Dukat likely considers a reconciliatory gesture.
- Near-Villain Victory: Dukat's battle plan to envelop and crush the Federation fleet, though unnecessary and more focused on personally defeating Sisko than winning the battle, very nearly worked. It was only through the direct intercession of the Prophets that Dominion reinforcements were stopped from transiting the wormhole.
- Neutral No Longer:
- Sisko gave a "What the Hell, Hero?" speech to the Prophets over the Dominion War, which convinced them to ensure that no Dominion reinforcements will ever make it through the Wormhole... including a monstrous armada already transiting it. The armada just... disappears. note
- The Bajoran deputies side with Odo and Kira's resistance in retaking the station. After this episode, with the threat of Dominion reinforcements ended, Bajor begins to openly aid the Federation-Klingon alliance.
- Never My Fault: When Weyoun brings up the failed occupation of Bajor as reason to be wary of the even bigger job of occupying the entire Alpha Quadrant, Dukat insists that he only carried out policy which was laid out by others, thinking he'd have done a better job if he were the one in charge.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!:
- Dukat would in all likelihood have won the war for the Dominion if he had simply held his position until time ran out: even with the arrival of the Klingons, only the Defiant successfully broke out of the trap initially. This is justified, however: as indicated by his speech to Weyoun about defeating your enemy versus "making them realize they were wrong to ever oppose you in the first place", he's more focused on a personal victory over Sisko than on the strategic level.
- After Dukat decides to have Kira, Jake and Leeta imprisoned alongside the already-detained and condemned Rom, purely to keep them from doing any damage while they take down the minefield, the Female Changeling decides to Kick the Dog and sentence them all to execution, just to make an example out of them. While Odo would likely have been horrified by the injustice of this alone, his feelings for Kira prompt him to turn on the Dominion, and save her and Rom from some Jem'Hadar.
- Weyoun's agreeing to reinstate Odo's Bajoran security officers at the start of the season also comes back to bite the Dominion on the butt, as Odo alone probably wouldn't have been able to deal with a squad of Jem'Hadar, but a few armed deputies certainly are.
- While Gowron is far from being a true villain, his obstructive delays in sending the Klingon forces actually help the Federation when they finally decloak and strike hard into the Dominion flank. This opens up a real hole in the Dominion lines which only the Defiant is able to get through.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: The Humiliation Conga that Dukat set off by his sudden act of decency in refusing to kill Ziyal and instead acknowledging her and taking her in as his child finally hits its climax here. After all he suffered for her sake, and then after all the dark compromises and shady deals he made trying to regain what he lost (in part for her sake), he loses both all that he'd reclaimed and her. He'd have been better off if he really was the monster he often acts like.
- No-Nonsense Nemesis: Weyoun thinks that the Dominion should eradicate Earth's population after taking it over, believing that any organized resistance against the Dominion will start there. Dukat is aghast, as he believes victory means nothing if your enemies aren't made to accept that they were wrong to oppose you.
- Nothing Can Stop Us Now!: Dukat breaks out a bottle of kanar and toasts to himself and Weyoun as the "conquerors of the Federation." Weyoun naturally starts wondering why he's already celebrating a victory that's not been achieved yet.Weyoun: Aren't you being a bit premature?
Dukat: I don't think so. Not with twenty eight hundred Dominion ships waiting to come through that wormhole.
Weyoun: Those ships aren't going to be here for another five hours, and need I remind you a lot can happen in that amount of time.
- Oh, Crap!: Quark gets this expression when Kira, Jake, and Leeta are taken prisoner, realizing it's up to him to get them (and Rom) back out.
- Pet the Dog: At the end of the episode, Dukat returns Sisko's baseball, although whether this was an act of kindness or simply the now-insane Dukat's idea of reconciliation with his enemy (he says "I forgive you" as he hands the ball back) is ambiguous.
- Even if he refuses to admit to his own failings, when Dukat learns his daughter has turned against him he still can't bring himself to harm her.
- Pragmatic Villainy: Knowing that Rom probably wasn't working alone, Dukat decides to allow Damar to have Kira, Leeta and Jake also thrown in prison, noting that he won't be able to keep them there for very long, but it'll at least keep them out of the way long enough to ensure that they can bring down the minefield without any attempts at sabotage. However, the Female Changeling then screws things up by deciding to Kick the Dog and have them all executed, causing Odo to turn against the Dominion.
- Red Shirt: The Miranda-class starship seems to be showing its age, as seen in this episode. It's the first in a series of battles that shows their surprisingly high attrition rate, amounting to little more than cannon fodder. It doesn't help that one specific shot of the Defiant's wingmen being destroyed was recycled in every later fleet battle.
- Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: Ziyal, according to Damar.Damar: You heard her...she's a traitor!
- Sanity Slippage: Dukat's mental state starts falling apart when the Dominion reinforcements fail to follow the Defiant out of the wormhole. He's quickly reduced to desperately scouring the Promenade for Ziyal, ignoring his impending defeat. Ziyal's death proves to be the final straw, breaking Dukat's hold on reality; he ends the episode as a shell of his former self, telling an illusory Ziyal that he forgives her and that they'll be a family.
- Shout-Out: O'Brien and Bashir quote Lord Tennyson's poem "The Charge of the Light Brigade". Appropriately, as there are around 600 Starfleet ships in the fleet. It leads to an Analogy Backfire when Garak asks how the poem ends.
- Smug Snake: Dukat spends most of the episode patting himself on the back for the impending victory over the Federation, including drinking to his victory while the battle continues raging. All of that confidence (to say nothing of Dukat's sanity) disappears when the Dominion reinforcements fail to come through the wormhole. Although, in all fairness, Dukat couldn't have accounted for the Jem'Hadar fleet simply vanishing mid-transit, and even that only came about because Sisko managed to convince the Prophets to step in.
- Sorry I'm Late: Worf apologizes for showing up late with the Klingon fleet, as Gowron took a long time convincing.
- Space Is an Ocean: Specifically, a battleship-era fleet battle; with fast torpedo boats harassing enemy lines, destroyers screening the ships-of-the-line, and heavy-hitting capital ships pounding away at each other with their massive deck guns. A Cardassian Galor-class cruiser even gets her 'T' crossed by a pair of Galaxy-class starships. (2-D Space is, at least, averted.)
- Status Quo Is God: After the status quo was broken in the fifth season finale, it's finally brought back with the Federation retaking Deep Space Nine from the Cardassians and the Dominion.
- Stuff Blowing Up: The minefield is destroyed in the spectacular explosion that Dukat promised.
- Stuffed into the Fridge: A rare villainous example, as Ziyal is killed basically just so that Dukat could have a breakdown.
- Sympathy for the Devil: No one on the station feels like gloating to Dukat about his failure to keep the station after what he's gone through.
- Tactical Withdrawal: The Founder orders a full withdrawal from the area surrounding Deep Space Nine.
- Talking to the Dead: A far less sentimental example than usual for this trope: Ziyal's death devastates what's left of Dukat's sanity, and he pours his heart out to her while alone in a cell.
- Take Up My Sword: Sisko makes this an order to the fleet - anyone who breaks through the Dominion lines is to make a run straight for Deep Space Nine. Initially, the Defiant is the only ship that succeeds. But by the end of the battle more Alliance ships manage to slip out of the meat grinder.
- Tempting Fate: When Damar reports that the Defiant has slipped through their blockade, Weyoun orders the ship pursued and destroyed. However, Dukat countermands that, choosing to rely on the station's weapons array. Said weapons are disabled by Rom just in time to allow the Defiant to enter the wormhole.
- Heck, Dukat's entire attitude reeks of this trope, especially when toasting said presumed victory when the minefield isn't even down yet.
- This Cannot Be!: Dukat can barely process that the battle has turned against them just as they were on the cusp of total victory."Victory was within our grasp! Bajor! The Federation! The Alpha Quadrant! All lost!"
- This Is Gonna Suck: Bashir and O'Brien begin to recite The Charge of the Light Brigade in reaction to the size of the Domion fleet—which was in no way helpful. Nog straight-up asks them to stop, and the Chief realizes it was a bad idea when Garak asks how it ends.
- Time for Plan B: As the Defiant is rushing back to DS9, Jadzia suggests that Sisko come up with a Plan B. When they see the minefield destroyed, Sisko reveals the new plan: fly into the wormhole and stand against the coming Dominion armada.Jadzia: One ship against a fleet? That's a helluva Plan B.
- Trap Is the Only Option: During the battle, Dukat orders the Cardassian fleet to open a hole in their lines. Sisko (and Bashir) immediately realizes it's a trap, but decides that flying into it is also the Alliance's best shot at breaking through.
- Villainous Breakdown: Dukat when the Dominion fleet doesn't come through the wormhole and it becomes clear that The Federation and the Klingons are winning the battle. Made worse by Ziyal's death.
- Wham Shot:
- The Prophets confronting Sisko on his suicide mission. Then later, the Dominion ships disappearing.
- A literal shot, as Ziyal is mortally wounded by Damar.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Sisko chewing out the Prophets for not being inclined to help him. They accede, but at a cost to be exacted later.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Terok Nor is shown to be surrounded by a number of Dominion ships at the start of the episode. However, they completely disappear when the Defiant arrives, as Dukat doesn't order them to engage when the station's weapons array fails. It's likely that those ships were later redeployed during the episode to secure weak spots when Dukat redeployed the fleet to counter the Federation. Knowing Dukat, he likely thought that with the reinforcements from the Gamma Quadrant due to come through anyway, he could go ahead with said redeployment. There may have been one or two ships that show up during the Dominion's evacuation of Deep Space Nine.
- You Are Too Late: Kira and Rom's sabotage of the weapons array is too late to prevent the Dominion from destroying the minefield. It does, however, come in handy when the Defiant arrives at the wormhole (as the Dominion can't stop the ship from entering), and afterwards when the Defiant starts firing at the station, prompting the Founder to call for an immediate withdrawal.
- You Do Not Want To Know: Garak asks how "The Charge of the Light Brigade" ends. O'Brien replies with this—which basically answers Garak's question.
- You're Insane!: Non-verbal, but Weyoun's expression as Dukat says that there should be statues of him on Bajor says a lot about his opinion of Dukat's mental state.