When it becomes apparent that Gowron is sabotaging the war effort in order to bolster his political career, Commander Worf is forced to take extreme measures to prevent the destruction of the Klingon fleet. Back in the Dominion, Kira assists Damar's resistance movement, but some of the Cardassians are not happy to be taking orders from a Bajoran. When the motley crew attempts to steal a Breen weapon from a Dominion starbase, the team is pushed to the breaking point. On the station, Bashir and O'Brien come up with a scheme to find a cure for the morphogenic virus, and not a second too late; behind enemy lines, Odo's condition takes a turn for the worse.
Tropes in this episode:
- Abdicate the Throne: By right, Worf becomes Chancellor when he kills Gowron, only to immediately cede leadership to Martok because Martok will be a better leader.
- Absentee Actor: Jake (a common occurrence) & Quark (a rare occurrence), since Armin Shimerman was particularly busy on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
- Armor-Piercing Question:
- After Damar gets the news that his family has been killed by the Dominion:
- When Worf asks for advice on how to handle Gowron, Ezri notes the corruption plaguing the Klingon Empire. She asks Worf who was the last chancellor he actually respected (or if there even has been one), but the real piercing question is:Ezri: Worf, you are the most honorable and decent man I have ever met, and if you're willing to tolerate men like Gowron, then what hope is there for the Empire?
- Body Horror: Due to shapeshifting overload, Odo's body begins to gruesomely decay.
- Book-Ends: Worf was responsible for elevating Gowron to Chancellor, and he is also responsible for Gowron's downfall.
- Brutal Honesty: Ezri's opinion on the Klingon Empire, once she's convinced to give it? It's dying, and it deserves to die.Ezri: I think that the situation with Gowron is a symptom of a bigger problem. The Klingon Empire is dying. And I think it deserves to die. [ ] I see a society that is in deep denial about itself. We're talking about a warrior culture that prides itself on maintaining centuries old traditions of honor and integrity, but in reality it's willing to accept corruption at the highest levels.
Worf: You are overstating your case.
Ezri: Am I? Who was the last leader of the High Council that you respected? Has there even been one? And how many times have you had to cover up the crimes of Klingon leaders because you were told it was for the good of the Empire? I know this sounds harsh, but the truth is, you have been willing to accept a government that you know is corrupt. Gowron's just the latest example. Worf, you are the most honorable and decent man I've ever met, and if you're willing to tolerate men like Gowron, then what hope is there for the Empire?
- Combat Pragmatist: Worf feigns weakness after Gowron manages to shove him through the glass tactical display in the room. When Gowron goes for the killing blow, Worf springs forward and jabs the shards of his weapon in Gowron's sides.
- Continuity Nod: Rusot falsely assumes that Garak wouldn't shoot a fellow Cardassian to save a Bajoran, and Garak's reply is "How little you understand me." Apparently, Rusot doesn't know that four-and-a-half seasons ago, Garak did shoot a fellow Cardassian to save Kira.
- Cruel to Be Kind: Kira's Ironic Echo response stuns Damar so badly that she thinks about apologizing, until Garak talks her out of it, saying Damar's romanticized view of the old Cardassia desperately needed a reality check.Kira: Oh, that was stupid.
Garak: Not at all. Damar has a certain romanticism about the past. He could use a dose of cold water.
Kira: I could have picked a better time.
Garak: If he's the man to lead a new Cardassia, if he's the man we hope him to be, then the pain of this news made him more receptive to what you said, not less.
- Death Equals Redemption: Despite his dishonorable deeds, Worf gives Gowron the Klingon death roar, letting Sto-Vo-Kor know that Gowron's spirit shall be arriving there, having died honorably in combat.
- Decon-Recon Switch: For the Klingon Empire. Ezri Dax points out to Worf that time and again, the Klingon Empire has never lived up to Worf's expectation, always corrupt and full of power-hungry men that Worf never fully trusted. Yet Worf in the end still believes his people can be the honorable and proud people by killing the power-mad Gowron and putting the much more trusted General Martok as leader of the council.
- Defiant to the End: With his last breath, Gowron claims that Worf still wouldn't win, implying either this trope or a refusal to accept reality.
- Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Odo, despite the severity of his condition, doesn't want pity from anyone, not even Kira and certainly not Garak.
- Due to the Dead: After Worf kills Gowron, he gives the traditional Klingon death cry.
- Everyone Has Standards: Kira feels that alluding to the occupation while Damar was grieving was a step too far, but Garak feels that it was something that Damar needed to hear.
- Evil Is Petty: Part of the reason Gowron wants to get rid of Martok is jealousy, because Martok's victories in the war have made him a hero to the Klingon people, and a threat to Gowron's position. Hence, a series of impossible missions meant to kill or humiliate the General.
- False Flag Operation: Bashir and O'Brien come up with this to find the cure.
- Family Extermination: The Dominion execute all of the members of Damar's family because of his leading the Cardassian Rebellion.
- Famous Last Words:Gowron: You will not have...this...day...
- Godzilla Threshold: Sisko telling Worf to do whatever it takes to stop Gowron. Especially since Sisko knows what the Klingon method is...
- Heel Realization:
- Kira's Armor-Piercing Question is what finally makes Damar realize the Occupation of Bajor was in fact genocide, and not something to be done again.
- After talking with Ezri, Worf realizes that he has been abetting and supporting a corrupt government by not taking action against Gowron.
- The Heist: The resistance's plan to hijack a Jem'Hadar fighter and steal the new Breen weapon being installed aboard it.
- Heroic BSoD: Damar is in shock at the Dominion's murder of his wife and son, and Kira's Armor-Piercing Question further shakes him, but in the end, he pulls through and becomes a better man.
- Hold Your Hippogriffs:O'Brien: (to Bashir) You're not gonna pull a rabbit out of your medkit* .
- Inherent in the System: Ezri explains to Worf that the corruption Gowron embodies has existed in the Klingon Empire for a long time, and Worf has merely tolerated it until now.
- It Is Beyond Saving:
- Ezri tells Worf that with all the corruption in the Klingon Empire, it may be best to simply let it die off.
- Kira's Armor-Piercing Question seems to have brought Damar to the same conclusion about the old, xenophobic Cardassia. After killing Rusot, Damar somberly notes that the glory days his friend wanted to reclaim are dead, and a new Cardassia will have to be built in their place.
- I Will Show You X: When Rusot provokes Kira into attacking him, he casually states that he's just struck a nerve. Kira shows him what "striking a nerve" is by tightening her headlock on him.
- Improperly Paranoid: Gowron is convinced that Martok will try to kill him and seize power, something that a devoted soldier like Martok would never do.
- Insane Admiral: Gowron, who's willing to attack the headquarters of an entire Cardassian Order (which have an average of 500,000 troops) with only a dozen ships. And it's all to discredit Martok!
- Klingon Promotion: Worf is forced to resort to this to save the war effort. Subverted when he refuses the cloak and passes it to Martok, who could better lead the empire.
- Mexican Standoff: Rusot has a phaser pointed at Kira and urges Damar to join him, while Garak has one pointed at Rusot. Resolved when Damar shoots Rusot himself.
- The Millstone: Gul Rusot, Damar's friend and right hand man in the resistance. He constantly undermines Kira's efforts, suggests military tactics that are at odds with a small resistance force. When their plan to steal the Breen weapon encounters problems, he pulls a FaceHeel Turn and tries to murder Kira and steal the weapon for himself. Damar, now realising the toxicity of Rusot's way of thinking (and that of the old Cardassia), kills his friend and resolves to do better.Damar: He was my friend, but his Cardassia's dead and it won't be coming back.
- Misery Builds Character: The shocking loss of his wife and son opens Damar up to recognising the flaws and atrocities of the old Cardassia; in the end, he admits that the old, warmongering days of Cardassia are dead and shouldn't be brought back.
- My Country, Right or Wrong: Martok and Worf both struggle with this dilemma; they're well aware that Gowron is a liability to the war effort, but Martok refuses to speak up out of loyalty to the Empire. Worf initially takes the same view, but a few hard truths from Ezri convince him to live up to the second part of the trope-naming quote: "If right, to be kept right; if wrong, to be set right".
- Never My Fault: Gowron places the blame for a failed raid entirely on Martok, even though he personally ordered it despite Sisko and Martok's objections.
- New Era Speech: After Worf kills Gowron and thus becomes Chancellor.Worf: What I have done was for the Empire. A new day must dawn for our people. I am not the man to usher in that day. But there is a man here who can.
Martok: Worf, I do not seek the leadership.
Worf: Kahless said, "Great men do not seek power... they have power thrust upon them."
(Worf hands the Chancellor's robes to Martok)
Worf: Hail Martok, leader of the Empire! Leader of destiny.
- Nostalgia Filter: Invoked and discussed.
- After Kira's Armor-Piercing Question to Damar, she feels she really shot her mouth off. Garak disagrees—noting that Damar has a romantic view of the old Cardassian empire, and could use a splash of cold water.
- Ezri also tells Worf that she has a more "dispassionate" view of the Klingon Empire than Jadzia or Curzon Dax did, and is therefore more willing to criticize its flaws.
- Paranoia Gambit: O'Brian asks Bashir if they found the cure and Section 31 found out about it, "...what do you think they'd do?" and then devise a plan based on their expectations.
- Playing Possum: When Worf is chucked through the glass tactical display, he rolls slightly as if hurt. Gowron raises his bat'leth for the kill, and Worf suddenly springs forward to stab him in the gut.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Once Worf takes matters into his own hands.Worf: You rule without wisdom and without honor. The warriors that are gathered here will not say this to you, but I will. You are squandering our ships and our lives in a petty act of vengeance!
Gowron: I should have known better than to trust you again. If you were a true Klingon, I would kill you where you stand! Fortunately for you, that child's uniform shields you from your rightful fate.
Worf: [places his Starfleet com badge on the table] What I say now, I say as a member of the House of Martok, not a Starfleet officer. You have dishonored yourself and the Empire, and you are not worthy to lead the Council.
Gowron: There can be only one answer to that!
- Removing the Earpiece: Worf takes his Starfleet badge off during his The Reason You Suck speech to Gowron, to emphasize that he's expressing his own thoughts towards him rather than Starfleet talking points.
- Reluctant Ruler: Martok, courtesy of Worf.
- Rule of Symbolism: Damar killing Rusot signifies the death of his own Nostalgia Filter and his newfound refusal to allow Cardassia to return to the mindset that produced such crimes and failings as the Bajoran occupation and the Dominion alliance.
- Secretly Dying: Zig-Zagged with Odo. Kira and Garak already know that he's infected with the changeling virus, but he's been hiding its severity. Despite this, Kira knows how bad it is, and simply feigns ignorance to allow Odo to preserve his dignity. At least, until his condition really goes to hell.
- Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Gowron's attempt to remove Martok as a potential threat to his position as Chancellor, ends up getting Gowron killed and Martok installed as the new Chancellor.
- Shout-Out To Shakespeare: Worf's Kahless quote ("Great men do not seek power... they have power thrust upon them") paraphrases a quote from the letter Malvolio reads in Twelfth Night.
- Also serves as an amusing reference to Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country: "Shakespeare in the original Klingon".
- Soft Glass: During his fight with Gowron, Worf gets thrown through a glass tactical display.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Thot Pran for Thot Gor.
- Trojan Prisoner: Kira is brought aboard the Jem'Hadar ship as a Federation prisoner of war, being escorted by three Cardassian soldiers (Garak, Damar, and Rusot).
- The Unfettered: When Worf explains the Klingon situation to him, Sisko tells him to resolve it any way he can.Sisko: Do whatever it takes, Mister Worf. Those Klingon ships out there are the only thing between us and the Breen. Gowron is risking the safety of the entire Alpha Quadrant, and he has to stop.
- Undying Loyalty: Martok unfailingly follows Gowron's orders, even after Worf makes him see what is going on."I will fight any battle. Anywhere. For the empire."
- Uriah Gambit: Gowron's way of dealing with Martok. Fails the first time, and Worf keeps a second attempt from happening.
- Villainous Valor: Gowron has always talked a good fight, but once again he demonstrates that he's not afraid of Worf, despite how close Worf came to killing him last time. In fact, this time it's his turn to shatter Worf's bat'leth, and he very nearly wins.
- Wall of Weapons: Evidently Klingons find it necessary to install a bat'leth wall even in conference rooms that don't belong to them, just in case a Klingon Promotion situation happens.
- We Can Rule Together: Rusot wants to help Damar restore the old Cardassian Union. Damar responds by shooting him, saying that the old Cardassia's dead.
- Wham Episode: Worf Kills Gowron, Martok takes over leadership of the Klingon Empire, Damar's commitment to creating a better Cardassia becomes unquestionable.
- Wrecked Weapon: Worf's bat'leth is shattered during the duel, but he still uses the pieces to defend himself and kill Gowron.
- You Have Failed Me: The Female Changeling says that, if the Vorta cloning facilities were operational, she would eliminate Weyoun 8 for failing to keep Damar under their control.
- You Wouldn't Shoot Me: Rusot to Garak:Rusot: You're still a Cardassian, Garak. You're not going to kill one of your own people for a Bajoran woman.
Garak: How little you understand me.