Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Season 5 Episode 15

By Inferno's Light (2)

Aired Weekdays 11:00 AM Feb 17, 1997 on Syndicado
out of 10
User Rating
155 votes

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Episode Summary

Stardate: 50564.2 When the Dominion fleet comes through the wormhole, it soon becomes clear that Cardassia has allied itself with the Dominion and that war is not far off. As the forces of the Alpha Quadrant assemble, the changeling posing as Dr. Bashir is wrecking havoc on Deep Space Nine.moreless

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  • Exciting!

    This exciting conclusion to another midseason two parter owes thanks to a clever setup on both a large and small scale. On a large scale, it benefits from the Dominion storyline which has been carefully cultivated over several seasons of the show, and the Dukat storyline which has also threaded its way through many episodes over the years. Both have thrived in DS9's semi serial format, and combining them is a stroke of genius. On a small scale, the episode is fortunate to follow "In Purgatory's Shadow", which puts everything in position for "Inferno" to jump into its drama.

    Eschewing a big special effects battle show, the episode creates excitement from character development, switching back and forth between the Alpha and Gamma Quadrants. With the political intrigue generated by the decisions of the Dominion, the Cardassians, the Klingons, the Romulans, and the Federation, the Alpha Quadrant story with Sisko and his crew is a military thriller with some thrilling twists and turns. Meanwhile, the Gamma Quadrant gives us a prison escape story featuring Garak and Worf . It's a plot that lacks movement for most part but disguises the flaw with some fine acting by Andrew Robinson (showing us Garak battling claustrophobia) and some fine fighting by Michael Dorn (showing us Worf kicking some Dominion ass). The internal and external struggles bring out the best in the two, and the writers use the opportunity to ease another character (Martok) into the fray.

    In the end, the episode delivers a satisfactory conclusion while still leaving us excited for what is yet to come. Never has a closing over the top music tag ("dum dum DUM!") been more fitting.

  • A smashing conclusion.

    Gul Dukat's defection is one of the most shocking twists in DS9 - an entirely plausible turn of events that nevertheless probably caused a few jobs to drop upon first viewing.

    But that's only one of many treats in this episode. Unlike his abysmal turn as a villain in season 1, Siddig does the changeling thing superbly here, keeping the audience on edge until the very end. The sequences in the Dominion prison are also nailbiters, giving both Andrew Robinson and Michael Dorn a chance to shine. And that final shootout... wow.

    Of course, the actual Dominion attack on the space station would have to wait a few more episodes. But it's perfectly set up here.moreless
  • A great episode.

    This was one of the most entertaining and well written episodes of Deep Space Nine. It had some good storylines and I thought that the acting was great. The thing that made this episode great was the fact that everyone had to work together to get out of the prison that they were in. There were some individuals that would never work together that were helping each other. Romulans, Klingons, Breen, and Cardassians. Not to mention a doctor. This was a really solid show. My favorite parts had to be the battles between Worf and the Jem'Hadar. It was entertaining and Worf ended up barely surviving. Thank you.moreless
  • Brings the Dominion into the Alpha Quadrant with a bang (spoilers)

    Part one set up all the pins, and this episode knocks them all down. The Dominion had been building as a growing threat, but here they are able to get a substantial foothold in the Alpha Quadrant, without firing a shot. This sets up the inevitablr war that will last the rest of the series. Finding out that Dukat and Cardassia has joined the Dominion was jaw dropping. And finally put Dukat back where he belongs... with the bad guys. We also see another great example of how the Dominion funtions. They used much the same tactics to wipe out the Cardassian Obsidian order, and the Romulan Tal Shi'ar. Using a couple of well placed changlings they convince there enemies to put all their forces in one spot. Earlier it was for a sneak attack, here it is for defense. Then, wipe them out when they don't expect it, either with an ambush or a devastating bomb. It shows the Dominion is both a clever and powerful enemy.moreless
  • Sisko prepares for a Dominion invasion, while Worf, Bashir, and Garak stage a jail break. (spoilers below)

    This is part two of a fantastic episode. Worf, Garak, Dr. Bashir, and General Martok are stranded on a Jem'Hadar prison asteroid, while Sisko must prepare for an invasion by the combined Cardassian/Dominion fleet.

    All three of the main storylines in this episode are very compelling. The idea that the Klingons and Romulans are ready to join DS9 in a stand against the Dominion is a welcome turn of events. Also, the Changeling Bashir almost gets away with it in the end, only to be defeated in the nick of time. Once again the Dominion employ trickery to attempt victory. They are really like a military version of the Ferengi more than any other Alpha Quadrant race.

    Worf's 7 victories in the Jem'Hadar prison battle ring are perhaps his most Klingon moment in the history of the series. Free from the constraints of the Federation and society, he is free to roar in battle and shout at the Jem'Hadar "Is there no Jem'Hadar willing to face me?" Epic moments.

    In any event, the twist at the end that they were attempting a supernova to wipe out the fleet was really a blow that I didn't see coming. Very clever writing. Garak redeems himself as well by confronting his fears. If there had been an actual space battle somehow, this would probably have been a 10.0.moreless
Armin Shimerman

Armin Shimerman


Terry Farrell

Terry Farrell

Lt./Lt. Commander Jadzia Dax (Season 1-6)

Michael Dorn

Michael Dorn

Lt. Commander Worf (Season 4-7)

Rene Auberjonois

Rene Auberjonois

Constable Odo

Nana Visitor

Nana Visitor

Major/Colonel/Commander Kira Nerys

Avery Brooks

Avery Brooks

Commander/Captain Benjamin Sisko

Ray Buktenica

Ray Buktenica


Guest Star

James Horan

James Horan


Guest Star

Carrie Stauber

Carrie Stauber


Guest Star

Melanie Smith

Melanie Smith


Recurring Role

Marc Alaimo

Marc Alaimo

Gul Dukat

Recurring Role

Andrew Robinson

Andrew Robinson


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (11)

    • We learn that Garak suffers from claustrophobia. When Garak was a child, his father, Enabran Tain, sometimes locked him in a closet until the boy had learned his lesson. Garak believes this was the cause of his claustrophobia.

    • Martok is permanently assigned to DS9 to command a group of Klingons soldiers assigned to the station.

    • In response to the Dominion/Cardassian alliance, Gowron restores the Khitomer accords (which he annulled in "The Way Of The Warrior"), making the Federation and Klingon Empire allies once again.

    • Beginning with this episode, Cardassia joins the Dominion and Dukat is appointed its new leader. Clearly this is what Sisko meant when he saw locusts heading for Cardassia in "Rapture".

    • This episode marks the very last time a DS9 crewmember (the real Bashir) is seen wearing a uniform with a colored shoulder.

    • Nitpick: Up until this point, the Founders have been incredibly protective of their own lives. The Bashir changeling, however, seems happy to become a suicide bomber once he's discovered instead of trying to escape.

    • The trilithium device the false Bashir was attempting to cause a nova with is the same type of weapon Sorian was using in Star Trek: Generations.

    • Goof: When we first see the Bashir Changeling inside the Runabout Yukon, one of the unconcious Starfleet officers is slumped over a console on the right. However, when we next see the Yukon (as Bashir fiddles with his bomb), this person is no longer in their seat, but returns as the Yukon explodes.

    • Nitpick: As the DS9 fleet is launched just after the Dominion fleet comes through the wormhole, two runabouts are shown, one with an exterior rollbar pod. However the names of the runabouts (Rio Grande, Volga and Yukon) are heard later, and none of those were ever shown with a rollbar.

    • Nitpick: Dax makes a big deal of the danger of using warp speed to navigate within the confines of a solar system. But in "Past Prologue", the crew routinely used warp speed with their runabouts to travel to different planets of the Bajoran system.

    • Goof: Just after the Jem'Hadar come for Worf, Bashir goes to open the panel to let Garak out. When he hands the tool he's using to someone else, he puts it under the head of the bed, away from the panel. Then next time Bashir goes to open the panel, the tool is under the foot of the bed.

  • QUOTES (17)

    • Kira: Everyone has their reasons. That's what's so frightening. People can find a way to justify any action, no matter how evil.

    • Garak: Well, Tain... you may not have been much of a father, but right now, I wish you were still alive. That way, you'd be in here instead of me.

    • Ikat'ika: (talking about Worf) I yield! I cannot defeat this Klingon. All I can do is kill him... and that no longer holds my interest.

    • Gowron: The Khitomer Accords? The treaty between the Federation and the Klingon Empire is dead.
      Sisko: But we can bring it back to life again. This is the most fortified position between here and the Klingon Empire. There will be a Starfleet task force here soon. If you could bring your fleet here...
      Gowron: Then we could stand united against the Dominion. And if we do...
      Bashir: We might have a chance.

    • Deyos: All Cardassian prisoners step forward!! I am pleased to announce that hostilities between our peoples have ended. As of today Cardassia has joined the Dominion. Therefore you're all being sent home. Congratulations on your new status as Dominion citizens.

    • Garak: The original one will work. I just have to finish what I started. After all, a verse about the Cardassian who panicked in the face of danger would ruin General Martok's song.
      Martok: That would be unfortunate.

    • Sisko: The Dominion's real fleet never left Cardassian space. This was all an elaborate trap, an attempt to destroy the station and Bajor and cripple the Federation and Klingon fleets without ever firing a single shot. Tell our friends out there to stand down. Armageddon will have to wait for another day.

    • Sisko: You know, Dukat, I thought you had changed in the last four years. I see I was wrong.
      Dukat: One man's villain is another man's hero, Captain. You should see the monument they're erecting in my honor at the gateway to the Imperial Plaza.
      Sisko: Is that why you sold out your people to the Dominion, for a monument?
      Dukat: What I did, I did to make Cardassia strong again. And mark my words, Captain, I've succeeded. You may have escaped defeat this day, but tomorrow...
      Sisko: We will see about tomorrow.
      Dukat: Yes, we will.

    • Dukat: You might ask, should we fear joining the Dominion? And I answer you: Not in the least. We should embrace the opportunity. The Dominion recognizes us for what we are, the true leaders of the Alpha Quadrant. And now that we are joined together, equal partners in all endeavors, the only people with anything to fear will be our enemies. My oldest son's birthday is in five days. To him, and to Cardassians everywhere, I make the following pledge: By the time his birthday dawns, there will not be a single Klingon alive inside Cardassian territory. Or a single Maquis colony left within our borders. Cardassia will be made whole. All that we have lost will be ours again. And anyone who stands in our way will be destroyed. This I vow with my life's blood, for my son, for all our sons.

    • Garak: (to a lightbulb) I'm sorry, but that's absolutely unacceptable! I'm under enough strain as it is, I can't have you quitting on me!

    • Gowron: Think of it. Four years ago, no one had ever heard of Bajor or Deep Space Nine, and now all our hopes rest here. Where the tides of fortune take us no man can know.

    • Jadzia: Dukat's ship is breaking formation... he's going after the Dominion fleet!
      Kira: Open a channel. Dukat, stop trying to be a hero. Get back to the station.
      Dukat: Your concern is touching, Major, but I think you misunderstand me. I'm not attacking the Dominion fleet - I'm joining it.
      Kira: What are you talking about?
      Dukat: I'm afraid I have a confession to make, Major. For the past few months I've been conducting secret negotiations between the Dominion and Cardassia. And as of last week, Cardassia has agreed to become part of the Dominion.
      Kira: You can't be serious.
      Dukat: Goodbye, Major. You and I on the same side... it never seemed quite right, did it?
      Kira: Lock phasers. Open fire!
      Jadzia: Too late. He's gone.

    • Sisko: Dukat, if you have something to say to me, say it!
      Dukat: Then I'll make it simple. A few days ago I swore all Cardassia lost would be regained. That space station you're so fond of, was built by Cardassia.
      Sisko: Funny, I thought it was built by Bajoran slave labor.
      Dukat: Either surrender the station, or I'll take it by force. The choice is yours.
      Sisko: If you want to retake this station, Dukat, you are welcome to try.

    • Deyos: Fascinating. Even after all he's been through, the Klingon still thirsts for battle. Doesn't he ever tire of it?
      Ikat'ika: I never do.
      Deyos: You fight because that is what you were designed to do! All that motivates him is some barbaric sense of honor.
      Ikat'ika: And that is something you will never understand.

    • Ziyal: My father says Garak's dead.
      Kira: Right now, I wouldn't believe your father if he said rain was wet.

    • Quark: The Jem'Hadar don't eat, don't drink, and they don't have sex. And if that wasn't bad enough, the Founders don't eat, don't drink, and they don't have sex, either. Which, between you and me, makes my financial future less than promising.
      Ziyal: It might not be so bad. For all we know, the Vorta could be gluttonous, alcoholic sex maniacs.
      Quark: I never thought of that! I wonder what their favorite food is!

    • Martok: There is no greater enemy than one's own fears.
      Worf: It takes a brave man to face them.

  • NOTES (2)


    • At the end of the episode, when Worf is fighting Ikat'ika, he refuses to yield, even when he can no longer defend himself and Martok tells him to stay down. At the end of the 1976 feature film Rocky, Rocky Balboa gets knocked down in his corner by Apollo Creed, and his manager Mickey wants to stop the fight. But, Rocky refuses to stop fighting.

    • Cool Hand Luke When Martok implores Worf to stay down in his fight with the Jem'Hadar First, it evokes the scene in Cool Hand Luke when Luke (Paul Newman) refuses to quit the fight even though Dragline (George Kennedy) keeps pummeling him. Luke, like Worf, wins the respect of all concerned.

    • By Inferno's Light This episode's title, "By Inferno's Light", is, like the episode before it, a reference to Dante's Divine Comedy; more specifically the portion known as The Inferno.

    • The Great Escape
      Garak's role and actions in this episode are similar to Charles Bronson's in The Great Escape. Both men were forced to work in a confined area and both suffered from claustrophobia.