This season ending cliff hanger is another tense military thriller, which builds the suspense in the first three quarters with dialogue-driven character scenes before cutting loose with the action the last quarter of the hour. It's sort of Deep Space Nine's version of "The Best of Both Worlds", illustrating the eve of battle through the mood of the characters before taking the plunge. But the story has more complexity, with Star Trek having evolved in the seven years since, introducing Bajor, Cardassia, and the Dominion, each with their own agenda.
As a standalone episode, it's not the best of season five. Despite its richness in character (with most of the important recurring guest stars, or at least most of those related to the war, making an appearance) and its major story developments (some of which cleverly happen off screen, saving time and money) it doesn't tie them all together in a way as satisfying as "The Quickening" or "Trials and Tribulations". There's a diversity of ideas like Lita choosing a wedding dress, Jake writing about the station, and Weyoun and Gul Dukat having a disagreement which don't fit together well enough to have us on the edge of our seat as one scene leads to the next. But it is, of course, grossly unfair to complain about "Call to Arms" not being one of the greatest Star Trek episodes ever when it is, without a doubt, such a fine piece of entertainment and another DS9 gem. Throughout the hour, there's a feeling that important decisions are being made with consequences which will be felt for many episodes to come. By the end, there's a feeling that the series has come full circle, taking us right back to the pilot, but with a reversal of fortune an open ended cliffhanger that sets the table for the next season. For departing writer Robert Hewitt Wolf, it's just about the perfect finish to an impressive body of work. For Deep Space Nine, it's a heck of a way to finish a heck of a season and an effective prelude to Star Trek's longest multi-parter yet.