Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Season 7 Episode 9


Aired Weekdays 11:00 AM Nov 25, 1998 on Syndicado
out of 10
User Rating
127 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Stardate: Unknown Dukat tries to persuade Kira to join a cult that worships the Pah-wraiths when she is unexpectedly transported to Empok Nor.

Who was the Episode MVP ?

No results found.
No results found.
No results found.
  • Dukat doing what he does best: talking about how great he is

    Dukat is back for another Kira episode about the two at odds. Turns out that the Cardassian has done a pretty good job of making a copy of all he's lost. Taking over Deep Space Nine's abandoned sister station, Empok Nor, he's become the head of a cult of Bajorans that worships the Pah-wraiths. In a way, it's better than his time as head of Deep Space Nine; he has no superiors, and the Bajorans love him. The only thing missing from his fantasy life is Kira, whom he fetches (or abducts, depending upon your choice of words) to begin the episode. And with that, we're off and rolling.

    Like he does in TNG's "Birthright Part 2", Rene Echevarria sketches out the characters and layers them into the battle of wills between the protagonist and cult leader. But whereas Birthright is more like a prison escape story, this episode draws from the Heaven's Gate Cult (which ironically borrowed from Star Trek, with members, including Nichelle Nichol's brother, wearing "Away Team" patches when they committed suicide in 1997). Kira sees the group descending into madness but is powerless to stop it.

    Mark Alaimo, of course, chews the scenery and is great as Dukat; but it's Norman Parker with an outstanding performance as Vedek Fala who really anchors the episode.

    Unfortunately, Echevarria's exploration of cult life (and death) must fit inside the hour (with time for commercials too), limiting his plot points and forcing a quick conclusion. But even if the ideas are oversimplified, the issues of the cult mind that are addressed here make for interesting television.

  • Good, but misplaced in the order of episodes, if you ask me.

    Why didn't "It's Only A Paper Moon" directly follow "The Siege of AR-558". Why in the world was this episode squeezed between the two?

    The banter with Odo about Klingon faith in the teaser was funny. Had me chuckle a little bit. It was good to have a little joke after the depressing, yet excellent AR-558 episode.

    This episode sets up the final chapter. But, it's been a long time since the "Tears of the Prophets". I'd pretty much forgotten about the Pah-Wraiths by this point. Maybe I'm just being skeptical because AR-558 was a great episode.

    This episode would be a filler episode if it didn't set up things to come. Why oh why doesn't Kira just kill Dukat and do the Federation a favor? I just don't get it. She's a trained soldier. She could snap his neck in a second and try to escape.

    Overall, this is a pretty good episode. It makes me want to go read the Millennium trilogy again.moreless
  • Why it was there

    Shardyk pointed out that paper moon should have directly followed siege. There had to be an episode between the two to account for Nog\'s time in the hospital. This allowed Nog the time to get unwell so that he can get well in the next episode. All together it was a good episode and does a good job of leading into the finale.
  • Dukat's Evengelical Seminary

    A clever episode in which we see what goes on all to often in our society, especially these days, murderers, liars, and cheats passing themselves off as 'holy' men, and expecting everyone else to make the sacrifices that will ensure their life of comfort.

    Marc Alaimo handles the role here of a 'transformed' Dukat quite well, it could've devolved into self-parody if not handled correctly; Nana Visitor also gives a great portrayal of the disgust and revulsion all sane and logical people regard this kind of hypocrisy with. Definitely different in context to the war episodes surrounding it, but a great character piece nevertheless.moreless
Armin Shimerman

Armin Shimerman


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

Alexander Siddig

Alexander Siddig

Dr. Julian Bashir

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • At the beginning of the episode, when Ezri, Julian, and Odo are sitting in Quark's, Julian orders a Romulan Ale. It was established in the second movie, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, that this beverage is illegal in the Federation. It isn't mentioned until later in the seventh season, specifically during the episode "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges" that the embargo has been temporarily lifted. In that episode, when offered a glass, Julian is uneasy at first, until Admiral Ross mentions that the embargo has been lifted.

      (side note; Bajor however is not in the Federation so it wasn't illegal to sell at Quarks')

  • QUOTES (11)

    • Kira: I know this is going to sound crazy, but I think Dukat convinced himself that he was doing what the Pah-wraiths wanted.
      Odo: Who knows, maybe he was.
      Kira: Either way, he believes, and that makes him more dangerous than ever.

    • Fala: In ancient times, Bajorans understood the value of denying worldly pleasure. Ironic, isn't it? That a Cardassian would be the one to lead us back to the old ways.
      Kira: Especially a Cardassian whose appetite for worldly pleasures is legendary!
      Fala: That was a long time ago, before he felt the kiss of the Pah-wraith.
      Kira: That must have been some kiss!

    • Kira: Faith has to come first.
      Odo: That's too bad. I have a feeling it must be very comforting to believe in something more powerful than yourself.

    • Dukat: Your hair, you've changed it.
      Kira: Your ear, you've pierced it.

    • (talking about the occupation)
      Dukat: Those times caused me great pain, but I wasn't responsible for the occupation; the Prophets are.
      Kira: (looks very angry) You have no right to say that.
      Dukat: They abandoned Bajor. I was simply walking the path they laid out for me. Now I walk with the true Prophets.

    • Fala: I have faith... isn't it beyond the realm of possibility that the Pah-Wraiths have sent us this child as a sign? Their powers are beyond our understanding. Your Prophets made an entire fleet of Dominion ships vanish into thin air. What's one child compared to that?

    • Benyan: I hope you come to feel the love of the Pah-wraiths. But if you don't... that's your loss. No offense.
      Kira: None taken. In fact, I've always found that people who try to convince others of their beliefs are usually trying to convince themselves.
      Benyan: I know what I believe.
      Kira: That's what scares me. No offense.

    • Dukat: Nerys, I wish I had the words to describe what it was like to have the Pah-Wraith within me. I could feel its love - for me, and for the Bajoran people. It made me realize that I still had a role to play in Bajor's destiny.
      Kira: You mean, besides overseeing a occupation that killed tens of millions?

    • Dukat: I have been touched by the hand of a god. I'm a changed man. Oh, I admit that when I first allowed myself to become a vessel for the Pah-wraith, it was purely out of self-serving reasons. All I wanted was to help it enter the wormhole so it could force the Prophets out. It was nothing more than a way to exact vengeance on Sisko. But I had no idea the effect it would have on me. It was only inside me for a short time, but it opened my heart.
      Kira: Would that be before or after you killed Jadzia?

    • Dukat: Who are you to assume their role? Who are you to judge me? Then it's done. The covenant is broken! None of you will know the love of the Pah-Wraiths!! None of you!!!

    • Dukat: Tonight, as I prayed, the Pah-Wraiths sent me a vision. They told me it would be the last one I would ever receive from them. There's a reason, a wondrous reason. My children, the Pah-Wraiths have asked us to join them in their holy quest to reclaim the Celestial Temple, to become warriors in this great battle. We must transform ourselves. Our corporeal bodies are not suitable for the task, so we must leave them behind. In a few hours, at the beginning of a new day, we will gather here for the last time. We will shed the flesh that ties us to this world, and deliver ourselves into the waiting arms of the Pah-Wraiths!

  • NOTES (3)


    • Dukat: You know as well as I do that history is written by the victors.
      This is a famous quote by Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister during WWII. Chancellor Gowron also said these words in the season four episode "The Way of the Warrior".

    • The Last Supper

      The painting Benyan is working on closely resembles Da Vinci's masterpiece, having Dukat in Christ's position, at center of painting, with arms outstretched and flanked by his disciples on either side.