Following a series of key victories, the Federation and their allies have turned the tide of the war with the Dominion in their favor. Tensions are running high among the crew of the Defiant as Bashir and Ezri worry about surviving to the end to pursue their relationship while O'Brien prepares to return to Earth after the war is over to pursue a teaching career at Starfleet Academy, but finds himself fretting over telling Bashir. All the while, Captain Sisko tends to his wife Kasidy as she contends with morning sickness whilst Kira and Garak continue to work with Damar in subverting the Dominion's hold on Cardassia from within their own territory.
With the Dominion retreating to Cardassia to regroup, the time has at last come for the final battle in the war: rather than wait for the Dominion to rebuild their ranks, the Federation, Klingons, and Romulans agree that the time is ripe for a final push to crush the Dominion once and for all.
The Federation and their allies launch their combined fleet and make their way to Cardassia as Sisko has another vision from the Prophets, with Sarah telling him his task was nearly complete, but the end of the journey he undertook lies not before him, but behind him. Meanwhile, on Bajor, Dukat regains his eyesight after the Pah-wraiths had blinded him for attempting to read the Book of the Kosst Amojan and meets with Kai Winn to finally undertake their own journey to the Fire Caves to release the Pah-wraiths and destroy the Prophets once and for all.
With the Dominion's defenses spread too thin, the Federation prepares to engage them while the Cardassian resistance sabotages power to the Capitol, disrupting communications and drawing the female Founder's ire. In response to the resistance's acts of sabotage, Weyoun orders the destruction of Lakarian City as punishment.
As Garak prepares to aid Damar in raiding the Capitol, Dominion soldiers kill his old friend Mila and raid the resistance's base in Garak's old basement, capturing Kira, Garak, and Damar. Meanwhile, throughout the Cardassia system, Dominion forces engage the Federation's fleet. It is a hard fight as Breen warships assail the Defiant and the Romulan flagship is destroyed, with O'Brien finally working up the nerve to tell Bashir he would be leaving for Earth after the war.
Back on Cardassia, Kira, Garak, and Damar are about to be executed by the Jem'Hadar when Cardassian turncoats shoot the would-be executioners and save them from certain death. Similarly, Cardassian warships begin to fire upon the Breen and Jem'Hadar, saving the Defiant and giving the Federation fleet the chance it needs to continue their push to Cardassia. Once communications in the Cardassian Capitol are restored, the Founder is dismayed to learn of the Cardassian ships' betrayal. At her wit's end with the Cardassians, she orders the Jem'Hadar to execute her loyal Legate Broca, then orders Weyoun to carry out the immediate genocide of the Cardassians.
With the Dominion fleet now bombarding Cardassian cities, Kira and a revenge-driven Garak help Damar make the final push into the Dominion's headquarters at the Capitol. The entrance is too heavily protected, but the resistance manages to make their way in when the entrance opens for Jem'Hadar soldiers preparing to carry out Broca's execution. Damar dies in the ensuing firefight, but Kira and Garak manage to fight their way in.
As the Federation and their allies close in on Cardassia Prime and prepare for one final strike to destroy the Dominion fleet, Kira and Garak make their way to the nerve center of the Dominion command. Garak kills Weyoun: with the Vorta cloning facilities destroyed, Weyoun is now finished once and for all as the Founder is captured, but she refuses to surrender. When Kira reports the Founder's deteriorating status to Sisko, Odo beams himself to the Dominion base to try to talk to her. The Founder believes the Federation would invade the Gamma Quadrant, but Odo assures her that they wouldn't and offers to cure her. Garak is suspicious of Odo's offer to the Founder, but Kira convinces him to stay his hand as Odo and the Founder link. With the morphogenic disease that ailed her cured, and Odo's experiences with the people of Deep Space 9 shared with the cure, the Founder finally agrees to surrender, calling off the Breen and Jem'Hadar fleets and ending the war. Furthermore, she would remain in the Alpha Quadrant to answer for her actions during the war. As such, the task of curing the Great Link would fall to Odo.
With the war finally over, the Founder signs the instruments of surrender as Garak decides to stay behind on Cardassia to rebuild and Worf accepts an offer by Admiral Ross and Chancellor Martok to become the Federation's ambassador to the Klingon Empire. In addition, with the task of curing the Great Link and teaching his people to trust others being a long and hard one, Odo asks Kira to come with him to the Changelings' homeworld to see him off.
Afterwards, the crew of Deep Space 9 hold a victory party at Vic's holosuite club. Unfortunately for Sisko, there is no time to rest: while the final stages of the Dominion War were underway, Dukat and Winn traveled to the Fire Caves of Bajor and released the Pah-wraiths. Afterwards, Winn offers Dukat a toast to celebrate their impending victory, only for Dukat to realise after he drank his toast that Winn had poisoned the wine, killing him as a sacrifice to the Pah-wraiths. When Winn calls out to the Pah-wraiths to grant her their power, however, the wicked spirits completely rebuke her and instead give their power to Dukat, resurrecting him and restoring his Cardassian appearance.
Sisko, sensing that something was amiss on Bajor and finally understanding what it is the Prophets want of him, immediately leaves for the Bajoran Fire Caves and confronts Dukat. With the Pah-wraiths granting him their godlike power, Dukat is easily able to overpower Sisko. Winn, after realizing what she had wrought, prepares to throw the Book of the Kosst Amojan into the flames of the Fire Caves, only for Dukat to whisk it from her grasp.
"Emissary, the book!" Winn cries out before Dukat envelops her body in flames and destroys her.
"Goodbye, Adami..." Dukat sneers.
While Dukat is distracted, Sisko takes the chance to tackle him, throwing them both into the Fire Caves. The flames consume the book and destroy it, along with Dukat's body, as the Prophets rescue Sisko. Sarah approaches him once more, informing him that he had finally fulfilled his task as the Prophets' emissary: the Pah-wraiths were once again sealed, along with Dukat, never to return. Unfortunately for Sisko, the Prophets were not done with him. The real work was only just beginning...
As Sisko's family attempt to find him, Kasidy receives a vision from Benjamin. The two tearfully reunite before Benjamin explains that he had to join the Prophets, and there was no way to know for certain when he could return. Nonetheless, he promises to return to her in due time.
With the war finally ended and Bajor at peace, the time has come at last for some of the station's most notable residents to take their leave. Miles O'Brien reminisces about the times he shared with Julian Bashir, the young doctor whom he first thought an annoyance, but would in time become his best friend. Worf thinks back on his life after the Enterprise, a time of great change for himself and the Klingon Empire as he prepares to return to his homeworld with his sworn brother, Martok. Odo thinks on the life and love he shared with Kira Nerys as he leaves his old bucket for her as a memento. Quark has fond memories of the interesting goings-on at his bar since the Federation came to the station. And Jake Sisko looks back with fond feelings on the seven years he lived on the station with his father.
At last, Odo decides to take his leave. He tries to slip away unnoticed by the station's inhabitants, not being fond of long goodbyes, but is approached one last time by his old rival Quark. Quark tries to coax Odo into saying kind things about him before he leaves, to which Odo can do naught but harrumph and walk away. Even though Odo would never say it, Quark knows for a fact that the constable respected him and raises a toast to his friend.
Odo and Kira make their way to the Changeling homeworld, where the Great Link had become green and sickly with the morphogenic plague. Odo says his farewells to Kira before kissing her and donning a tuxedo just for her before walking into the Great Link and merging with it, the green fluid that composed his race beginning to return to its healthy golden color.
Life on the station returns to normal, with Kira, now the commander of the station, keeping Quark on a tight leash. As Quark muses that "The more things change, the more they stay the same", Kira walks onto the Promenade and sees Jake looking out at the wormhole. She joins him and gazes out to the wormhole, the two of them comfortable in the knowledge that within the Celestial Temple is Captain Benjamin Lafayette Sisko: father, husband, friend, emissary, and hero to the Federation and the people of Bajor...
Tropes in this episode:
- Actually Pretty Funny: Damar's resistance group, when Garak points out they're ready to storm the headquarters of the Dominion but can't because their breach chargers aren't sufficiently powerful enough to break through the door.
- And This Is for...: Invoked verbatim by the Cardassians, who spit at the Dominion: "And that was for Lakarian City!"
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: After re-sealing the Pah Wraiths (and Dukat with them), Sisko is taken into the Celestial Temple to live with the Prophets and learn from them. However, in a vision he tells Kasidy that he will return to her one day.note
- Asshole Victim:
- No-one's sorry to see Broca go.
- Given the amount of crap she pulled over the years, not to mention the fact she'd been trying to serve the Pah-Wraiths until about two minutes before the end, it's kind of hard to feel sorry for Winn.
- It's also hard to feel sorry for "that Vorta jackal" Weyoun, though his Smug Snake Deadpan Snarker comedy will be missed.
- Bad Boss: As the Dominion's situation gets worse, and the disease takes its toll on her, the Female Changeling can do little more than yell, berate and kill her subordinates.
- Bait-and-Switch Gunshot: The Jem'Hadar have Kira, Garak, and Damar lined up for execution, aim their guns...and get shot by the Cardassians behind them.Cardassian: That's for Lakarian City.
- Battlecry: FOR CARDASSIA!
- Big Badass Battle Sequence: But of course.
- Big "NO!":
- Broca, when he's taken to be executed."But I've done everything you asked! I tell you, I'm loyal! I BELIEVE IN THE DOMINION! NO! WAIT! NO!"
- Winn, when the Pah-Wraiths choose Dukat over her.
- Broca, when he's taken to be executed.
- Bittersweet Ending: The Dominion is defeated, the Cardassian Union is broken as an imperialist power, and the Pah-Wraiths are permanently sealed in the Fire Caves. Additionally, Dukat is trapped with the Pah-Wraiths, Winn and Weyoun are dead, and the Female Changeling has surrendered to stand trial for war crimes. However, Worf and O'Brien leave for new assignments, Odo returns to his people, with little chance of returning any time soon, Garak is able to return to Cardassia, but the planet has been devastated by the Jem'Hadar, with the closest thing to family he has left is dead, and Sisko is forced to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence, with no guarantee of when he'll be back.
- Blatant Lies: The Female Changeling tells Weyoun that she would promise the Breen the entire Alpha Quadrant if she thought it would help win the war.
- Book-Ends: Sisko and Dukat first met back in the pilot. Now they have their final showdown.
- Brick Joke: O'Brien finding Colonel Travis, who'd been lost for several episodes.
- But Now I Must Go: Odo returns to the Great Link, Sisko joins the Prophets.
- Kira threatens Quark the same way she did way back in the first episode, "Emissary".
- In the previous season finale, Martok promised Sisko and Admiral Ross that within a year, they'll drink bloodwine on Cardassia Prime. Here he fulfills that promise, though Sisko and Ross are unnerved by the genocide around them to celebrate.
- The Female Changeling told Weyoun that bringing Odo back to the Great Link was more important than conquering the Alpha Quadrant. She ends up sacrificing that conquest in exchange for Odo's return, proving that she meant what she said.
- In his final conversation with Cassidy, Ben notes his situation is "not linear", much like the Prophets said alllll the way back in the opening episode.
- When O'Brien finds Travis, an instrumental version of "The Minstrel Boy" starts up.
- Kira assigns Nog to inventory a cargo bay, the same task that Sisko gave him to prove he was serious about joining Starfleet. Rather than being annoyed by it like before, this time he accepts the assignment with a smile.
- Cannot Spit It Out: In the midst of a pitched battle, O'Brien still finds it hard to tell Julian he's moving back to Earth.
- Capital Offensive: The Federation Alliance sends its fleets to Cardassia Prime, with the aim of ending the war.
- Chekhov's Gun: Just before the battle starts, Weyoun notes that the Dominion's lines are stretched too thin at the center. Their headquarters lose power before they can dispatch reinforcements. During the battle, Sisko points out this weakness, leading Admiral Ross and Martok to hit the center.
- Continuity Nod: The first city that the Dominion nukes is Lakarian City, which was home to an amusement park that Dukat wanted to take his son to in "Defiant."
- Death Glare:
- On arrival at Dominion Headquarters, Garak has a positively terrifying one.
- Sisko directs another one at Dukat when they face off in the Fire Caves.
- Deus ex Machina: The Prophets teleport Sisko out of the fire pit. Justified due to them doing this kind of thing throughout the series.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: The scene in which the Female Changeling signs the peace treaty ending the war draws explicit parallels to that of the Japanese surrender ceremony. Admiral Ross even directly quotes Douglas MacArthur's speech from said ceremony.
- Also, see the next trope ...
- Do Not Go Gentle: The female Founder plans to do this when Kira and Garak storm the Dominion command room, stating that even if she had lost the war, she will have had the Jem'Hadar and Breen kill so many of her enemies that it would ultimately a worthless victory for the Federation. It is only thanks to Odo that she changes her mind.
- Dressing as the Enemy: Kira killed a Breen and took the outfit to be able to move about on Cardassia.
- Drink Order: Chancellor Martok is ready to celebrate the victory over Cardassia with a barrel of bloodwine, vintage 2309.
- Even Evil Has Standards: When the Female Founder orders the Cardassians' annihilation, the Breen commander whips his head around. He doesn't say a word, and being Breen, his helmet hides whatever expression is on his face, but the suddenness of his response to the Founder's words is telling in and of itself. As for Weyoun, he too is visibly unnerved, saying only "That may take some time ..." Not that this actually stops him trying to follow through on it, though.note
- Everyone Has Standards: Drinking blood wine after the genocide of Cardassians is too much for the Federation officers. Martok snorts, "Humans ..." before taking a gulp.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: The Female Changeling resists surrendering on the grounds that it would be an open invitation for the solids to destroy the Great Link. Odo insists that the Federation, while not perfect, is not interested in conquering the Changelings and would never allow the Klingons or Romulans to do so.
- Eviler Than Thou: The reason the Pah-Wraiths choose Dukat instead of Winn.
- Exact Words: Broca tries to affirm his allegiance to the Dominion by saying he wouldn't consider joining the rebels. The Female Changeling agrees, and decides to not give him the opportunity — by executing him.
- Famous Last WordsMila: (to Jem'Hadar soldiers) May I help you?
Weyoun: What's left of [Cardassia]?
Winn: Emissary, the book!
Dukat: Farewell, Adami.
- Fate Worse than Death: Dukat goes to Pah-Wraith Hell.
- The Fellowship Has Ended: Unlike other Star Trek finales, this finale has the main cast going their separate ways.
- Final Battle: Starfleet, Klingons, and Romulans in an epic battle for the Alpha Quadrant against the Jem'Hadar, Cardassians, and Breen. Then right after, Sisko versus Dukat.
- Final Solution: After the Cardassian fleet turns against the Dominion, the female changeling decides the Cardassians are no longer worth the trouble and orders their genocide.
- Friendly Enemy:Odo: Thank you for seeing me.
Female Changeling: It's always good to see you.
- Gallows Humor: In-universe example. Garak realizes the explosives they brought along aren't strong enough to blast open the door to the Dominion Headquarters, and the gravity of the situation catches up to him; He starts laughing at the insanity of it all, and pretty soon the rest of the Resistance is caught up in the hilarity as well.Damar: I fail to see what is so funny, Garak!Garak: Isn't it obvious? Here we are, ready to storm the castle, willing to sacrifice our lives in the noble effort to slay the Dominion beast in its lair, (cracking up) and we can't even get inside the gates!Kira: (giggling and making a door-knocking motion) Maybe — maybe we could go up to the door, and ask the Jem-Hadar to let us in!Damar: (trying not to laugh himself) Why not just have them send the shapeshifter out to us!(everyone has a good laugh)Garak: Like I said we have a problem.
- Genocide Backfire: The Female Changeling orders a major Cardassian city to be wiped out by orbital bombardment as an example, and announces that the Dominion will destroy one city for every act of sabotage committed. After hearing this, however, the entire Cardassian fleet does an abrupt HeelFace Turn in favor of The Federation instead, as well as getting many Cardassian soldiers on-planet to defect.
- A God Am I: Gul Dukat, after the release of the Pah Wraiths.
- Graceful Loser: Despite being Defiant to the End, after Odo melds with her, the Female Changeling does a complete about-face and surrenders without a second thought and graciously. Chiefly, because Odo makes a deal with her: surrender and I'll return to the Great Link (something she genuinely ached for him to do) and cure our people.
- Grand Finale: With all the fixings. Space battles, flashback montages, and one more goddamn Vic Fontaine song performed in its entirety.
- Guns Akimbo: Damar wields two phasers when they charge into Dominion HQ.
- HeelFace Door-Slam: Winn, after seeing Dukat restored and ranting about how he and the Pah Wraiths are going to set the galaxy ablaze, suddenly has a change of heart and tries to help Sisko first by trying to destroy the book and then telling Sisko to destroy it before the Pah Wraith-empowered Dukat slams the door right in her face, however.Dukat: Are you still here? (Kai Winn is engulfed in flames) Farewell, Adami.
- HeelRace Turn: The entire Cardassian fleet, as well as the civilians on Cardassia itself.
- "Hell, Yes!" Moment: For the Federation during the Cardassians' HeelRace Turn.Odo: Sir...the Cardassians! They're attacking the other Dominion ships!
Ezri: They've switched sides.
Sisko: The timing couldn't be better.
- Heroic Sacrifice: What did you expect from a Grand Finale?
- Damar, of course, doesn't make it, nor do several of the Cardassian soldiers who storm the Dominion headquarters alongside him.
- Garak's former caretaker Mila is slain by Jem'Hadar soldiers when she tries to keep Garak, Kira and Damar hidden in her basement.
- There's also Sisko, but he gets rescued by the Prophets.
- Hoist by His Own Petard:
- Kira, Garak and Damar find the back door to the Dominion's headquarters to be too strong to demolish with explosives, but just then a party of Jem'Hadar lead the Dominion's Cardassian Puppet King (Legate Broca) and his aides out the same door in order to execute them as part of the Founder's Final Solution. Kira, Garak, Damar and the rest of the resistance exploit the surprise opportunity to kill the guards and make it inside.
- On the Founder's orders to kill every Cardassian on the planet, Weyoun sends almost all the headquarters' guards away to help expedite the genocide, leaving only a handful of Jem'Hadar and Breen to actually defend himself and the Founder when the resistance comes knocking. Didn't See That Coming, did you, Weyoun?
- Human Sacrifice: Winn poisons Dukat as part of the ritual. Unfortunately for her, the Pah Wraiths find a kindred spirit with Dukat and revive him.
- I Can't Believe I'm Saying This:Admiral Ross: I never thought I'd say this, but thank God for the Cardassians.
- I Shall Return: Sisko tells Kasidy he'll return from the Prophets' plane of existence someday.
- It Has Been an Honor:
Worf: It has been a great honor serving with you, sir.Sisko: The honor is mine.
- After Worf gets offered an ambassador position by Martok:
Sisko: To the best crew any captain ever had. This may be the last time we're all together, but no matter what the future holds, no matter how far we travel, a part of us, a very important part, will always remain here on Deep Space Nine.
- Later, at the farewell party at Vic's:
- The Cardassian Resistance is spearheaded by a former member of the Bajoran Resistance against Cardassia.
- The female changeling dying as a solid.
- It's Like I Always Say: The final line of the show.Quark: It's like I said — the more things change, the more they stay the same.
- Killed Mid-Sentence: Originally, Damar was going to be killed off without any last words. Casey Biggs felt he should say something, hence Damar's last words are "Keep ...". To this day, he has no idea how he would have finished the sentence. Kira decided he would have said "going" and told his shocked insurrectionists to not falter and to do what they came to do.
- Killed Off for Real: Mila, Damar, Broca (who wasn't around for long), Kai Winn, and the last Weyoun clone.Female Changeling: I wish you hadn't done that. He was the Weyoun's last clone.Garak: (eyes glittering) I was hoping you'd say that!
- Kneel Before Zod: Dukat forces Sisko on his knees using the power of the Pah Wraiths.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Cardassia Prime lies in ruins, not unlike Bajor at the start of the series. Martok lampshades it:Martok: Bajorans would call this 'poetic justice'.
Garak: We've collaborated with the Dominion, betrayed the entire Alpha Quadrant. Oh, no, no. There's no doubt about it. We're guilty as charged.
- A depressed Garak also acknowledges this—saying Cardassians have a history of arrogant aggression.
- Last Episode Theme Reprise: All over the place.
- Last Minute Hook Up: The episode begins with Ezri and Bashir in bed after they finally got together in the previous episode.
- Last of His Kind: To Garak's delight, he killed Weyoun's final clone.
- Light Is Not Good: Winn is wearing all white when she commits herself to the Pah-Wraiths once and for all.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: Just look at the number of guest stars listed after the opening titles!
- Made of Indestructium: It's noted that the door to the Dominion headquarters is built out of neutronium, which according to its other appearances in the Trek franchise ("The Doomsday Machine" comes to mind), is nigh indestructible even by starship-scale weapons.
- Man Hug: How O'Brien and Bashir say goodbye.
- A Million Is a Statistic: Garak and Captain Sisko show some sympathy over the deaths of 800+ million Cardassians, but on the whole it's pretty well skipped over.
- Mood Whiplash: In a meta sense, a cross-series example. Here we see the end of the Dominion War and our heroes going their separate ways, with those still on the station talking about how life goes on—while in the Delta Quadrant, the good ship Voyager is imperiled by subspace death dolphins and the rogue Starfleet ship that crossed the Moral Event Horizon and pissed them off in the first place, with Janeway dangerously close to Jumping Off the Slippery Slope.
- Most Common Card Game: Quark and Vic play a hand of Go Fish simply because there's nothing else for them to do. Vic cheats.
- Morning Sickness: Kasidy, who found out she was pregnant in the last episode, spends much of his appearance in the teaser throwing up or getting ready to throw up.
- Never Found the Body: When reports come to the Founder that Damar is alive despite the destruction of La Résistance last episode, she mentions this trope.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!:
- The Female Changeling's order to exterminate the Cardassians — and order to execute Legate Broca, specifically — turn the tide of the war against the Dominion for good.
- By extension, the Jem'Hadar carrying out the execution are caught by surprise by Kira, Garak and Damar, and end up leaving the otherwise Made of Indestructium back door wide open for them to infiltrate.
- Non-Indicative Name: Dukat voices his disappointment that the "Fire Caves" have very little actual fire in them. Kai Win, however, quickly corrects that.
- Nothing Is the Same Anymore: Subtly noted by Admiral Ross when he quotes Douglas MacArthur at the peace summit. The war has permanently changed everyone who fought and there's no going back to the pre-war way of things.Ross: Four hundred years ago, a victorious general spoke the following words at the end of another costly war: 'Today the guns are silent. A great tragedy has ended... we have known the bitterness of defeat and the exultation of triumph, and from both we have learned there can be no going back. We must move forward to preserve in peace what we've won in war.'
- Oh, Crap!:
- Weyoun's reaction to the Cardassians' HeelFace Turn.
- Legate Broca also has one when Weyoun announces the Cardassians' switch. Look closely and you can see him realize that he's not leaving the building alive.
- Omnicidal Maniac: The Pah Wraiths and by extension, Dukat.
- Pet the Dog: The Female Changeling calls Weyoun "The only solid I have ever trusted." The look on his face...
- Power of Trust: Garak is adamant over Odo melding with the Female Changeling; Odo asks Kira to trust him, and she settles Garak down and lets Odo meld.
- Pyrrhic Victory: The Female Changeling intended to invoke this by dying, or being killed, but still not rescinding the order to the Jem'Hadar to stop fighting.Female Changeling: You may win this war, commander, but I promise you: when it is over, you will have lost so many ships, so many lives, that your "victory" will taste as bitter as defeat.
- Rank Up: Nog ends the series as a Lieutenant, Junior Grade, thanks to Sisko's last command.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech:Sisko: You are pathetic.Dukat: Then why are you the one on your knees?Sisko: First the Dominion, now the Pah Wraiths. You have a talent for picking the losing side.
- Redemption Equals Death: For Damar, and over 800 million other Cardassians.
- Retirony: Sisko didn't get to build his house. He didn't even finish the model.
- Revenge by Proxy: Damar's resistance caused massive problems, so the Female Changeling orders the civilians to pay the price. To start with, they destroy an entire city roughly 2 million dead.
- Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: This is what happens to The Quisling from the Cardassians to the Dominion (Damar's successor as head of the puppet government) after the Cardassians betray the Dominion.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: The Dominion deciding to take him outside to kill him allows the Resistance access inside.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: When the Dominion kill Mila, whom Garak cared about deeply, he tells Kira that he now has a very personal reason to see the Dominion destroyed: revenge.Kira: That works, too.
- Salt the Earth: The Dominion's initial alternative to defeat is to wipe out as much as Cardassia as they can before they are subdued — see Pyrrhic Victory above.
- Shiny New Australia: The Female Changeling promises the Breen Earth as a reward. Weyoun is happy to find out she's lying - he wanted it for himself.
- Shout-Out: Kira disguising herself as a Breen to save the menfolk's asses is awfully familiar...
- Small Name, Big Ego: Winn from the Pah Wraiths' perspective. As Dukat gloats, did she really think the Pah Wraiths would choose her over someone like Dukat?
- Stock Footage: A good quarter of the climatic battle to take Cardassia Prime is represented by stock footage from the previous season's "Sacrifice of Angels" and "Tears of the Prophets," as they had spent nearly the entire remaining visual effects budget for this season on "The Changing Face of Evil," and had next to nothing left for this story. This notably has the effect of the new Defiant having the same registry as its predecessor (NX-74205) rather than the intended one (NCC-74205-A).
- Storming the Castle: Literally with Kira's commandos storming Dominion headquarters, and Recycled In Space with the Federation alliance finally attacking Cardassia Prime.
- Stranger in a Familiar Land: Garak's exile is officially over, but the Cardiassia he knew is gone. He laments that many of their best minds and much of their rich culture are gone.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: When it is clear the Cardassians won't fall in line, the Female Changeling orders the death of every Cardassian and destruction of every city. When it is all over, an estimated 800 million dead and the casualty reports are still coming in.
- Too Dumb to Live:
- Once again, Weyoun makes a flippant remark in front of someone he shouldn't, in this case a beyond pissed-off Garak with a disruptor. And he gets killed for it, one last time.
- The Founder declares genocide against the people of Cardassia while her base is on the planet and their fleets are a core part of her defenses during an active battle. It doesn't even seem to occur to her the Cardassians might not cooperate with this. Possibly justified, as she's used to dealing with the slavishly loyal Jem'Hadar and Vorta, both of which probably would submit to being slaughtered by the Founders without a qualm, and has had very little other interaction with solids as allies.
- Tranquil Fury: The look on Garak's face when Weyoun announces the destruction of Lakarian City. And then when Garak confronts Weyoun for the last time.
- Traveling at the Speed of Plot:
- The Dukat/Winn subplot moves concurrently with the main action, even though the travel to Cardassia and the final battle against the Dominion take place over the span of a few days.
- Sisko's compulsion to go to the Fire Caves is presented as if it occurs in real time with the events of Dukat and Winn, but earlier episodes established that it is roughly a 3 hour trip from DS9 to Bajor, not counting the time he would have needed to navigate the caves.
- Averted at the end when Quark is placing bets on who will be the next Kai, as several days must have passed between Kira taking Odo back to the Founders' homeworld, allowing the Bajoran people to realize that Kai Winn was missing, had deserted her office, or was likely dead.
- The Dukat/Winn subplot moves concurrently with the main action, even though the travel to Cardassia and the final battle against the Dominion take place over the span of a few days.
- Un-person: Meta-example. Jadzia Dax is curiously omitted from the flashbacks, particularly Worf's, despite (technically) still living on in Ezri. Apparently this was because, thanks to using some voice clips of Terry Farrell in "Penumbra" earlier in the season without permission, the show couldn't get the rights to show her images in the finale.
- Villain Decay: Winn. Earlier in the series, she was a threat to Deep Space Nine. In the final episode, she's killed off almost as an afterthought. Dukat's "Are you still here?" seems to be a lampshade of the trope.
- Visual Pun: During Vic's performance of "The Way You Look Tonight", he looks directly at Kira when he sings "the laugh that wrinkles your nose", and she smiles in response.
- Warts and All: While Odo admits that The Federation has its flaws (re: Section 31), he tells the Founder that they're not the aggressive warmongers that she thinks they are.
- What A Senseless Waste Of Cardassian Life: Martok raises a toast on the Cardassian streets... while surrounded by the bodies of the Dominion's victims. Sisko and Admiral Ross don't have it in them to celebrate such a gruesome slaughter, and pour out their drinks.
- Wham Line:Odo: "Sir, the Cardassians! They're attacking the other Dominion ships!"
- Wham Shot:
- The Defiant is about to be destroyed by the Breen and a Cardassian ship comes to the rescue.
- The massive Dominion fleet orbiting Cardassia Prime.
- You Can't Go Home Again: Garak finally gets to go back to Cardassia, but he can't go back to the home he grew up in, because it's been bombed into oblivion.
- Quark: It's like I said. The more things change, the more they stay the same.