Reminiscent of "The Ship", but better, "Rocks and Shoals" is another "Sisko as a troop leader" episode. It's supposedly part of the season opening six parter, but could just as easily have been made as a standalone episode. (Actually, the next episode, "Sons and Daughters", was shot before it). Sisko and most of the regulars (along with Garak and Nog) are part of the A story, where they and an enemy ship have crashed on a planet. Only working together can they escape. The result is combat crosscut with political drama. The script itself isn't anything special, just running through the motions, but the acting (including the new guest stars) and the directing (taking advantage of a beautiful location) elevate the story, giving it a unique feel. (At times it looks like a feature film). Most of the episode features Sisko making the tough decisions, but in the end we learn more about his enemy (the Vorta and the Jem'hadar) than him, better defining what the Federation is up against.
Sisko and Company are in trouble--their ship has sustained heavy damage and, very quickly, they are attacked again and have to crash land on a planet. Unfortunately, they are not alone--they are stranded with about a dozen Jem'Hadar and one Vorta whose sole priority is to stay safe during the war, and sacrificing his men is just the cost of doing business. The Vorta, Keevan, offers Sisko and his men a way off this rock, but only if they kill the Jem'Hadar whose white supply is about expired. Sisko winds up having to take Keevan up on his offer. On the station, Kira and Odo have to face up to the reality of what they're doing--helping the Dominion instead of fighting them. Questions from Jake and the suicide of a respected Vedek make Kira resolve to form a new resistance cell.
This episode is a masterpiece, probably the best of the Dominion-occupied DS9 arc. Talk about emotionally resonant--did you ever think that an episode would ever make you both respect and pity the otherwise vicious Jem'Hadar? There is one line used by the Jem'Hadar leader, Remata'Klan, which makes me shiver every time I hear it. Aside from muddling the battlefield morality, the episode also allows Kira to get back to her roots--the scene where she shows up to duty, eyes wide open, the token Bajoran in a room full of Cardassians and Jem'Hadar--is a wonderful piece of understated acting. Overall, this compex look at wartime morality is one of the series' best.
Both the on-station and off-station plots are exceptionally strong here.
The Sisko story is in many ways a sequel to "The Ship" (with a nod to "Hippocratic Oath"). Again, the crew is stranded on a planet and forced to contend with a Vorta and his detachment of Jem'Hadar. Kivan is a nice addition - a completely smarmy example of pure, treacherous evil who the good guys are nevertheless forced to team up with against a "noble warrior" Jem'Hadar. Life is full of moral compromises. It's worth mentioning that this on-planet story is beautifully shot, particularly the prisoner exchange sequence. And of course, who can forget what happens when O'Brien tears his pants?
Back on the station, we discover Kira struggling with her new role. As always, she's a good person trying to do the right thing - but it's difficult to figure out where the line between protecting her people and collaborating really lies. The protest-suicide of the Vedek is absolutely shocking - and breaks her out of her complacence, though though can't help wondering whether Kira's decision to fight the dominion is anything more than moral vanity.
wow. the beginning of the dominion war arc are as good as the rest of it. it is indeed the best plot line together with the xindi plot line in enterprise. The drama, the exitment. pureely beutiful. the writers really did a great job. the odo-kira plot, beautiful. the scene where she realizes what she has become-magical. the conversations between the Jem hadar 3d and Sisko-even more beautiful. however, dont they have stun setting on phaser rifles? i could be wrong, i havent seen the specs exactly... but stunning them and let Bashir take over after that could have saved them.
This episode thrills me everytime I watch it. Deepening the characters of the dominion and adding characters and events that will come back later and flourish. Keevan is a wonderful little decietful vorta.
Sisko's attempts at turning the J'em Hadar soldiers against Keevan are strong moments that help us further understand this race of warriors.
The final battle is magnificently done. The feeling of danger and loss felt by both sides. This was a battle with consequences... a battle that needed to be fought.
The look of the show was different than other landing sites. I looked the color and textur choice of the light. This was a well done episode that I continue to watch and enjoy.
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