Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Season 7 Episode 2

Shadows and Symbols (3)

Aired Weekdays 11:00 AM Oct 07, 1998 on Syndicado

Episode Fan Reviews (4)

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out of 10
144 votes
  • Like Sand Through the Hour Glass, so are the Days of Deep Space Nine

    Tying up the plot threads introduced in "Image in the Sand", this episode is a satisfactory conclusion that takes the series back "home" while simultaneously promising more intrigue to come.

    Tapping into "Far Beyond the Stars", the A story with the Siskos and Dax takes advantage of location shooting for a "Raiders of the Lost Ark"-like plot (making the seventh season the third in a row to feature a desert planet in its second episode). As the plot moves along and becomes more surreal (including a human played by Casey Biggs without the Damar makeup), it becomes more delicious, and a conclusion with some long awaited answers pays it off well. Along the way, Nicole deBoer begins developing the new Dax, throwing herself into the character as if she only has a season to get everything out. Okay, never mind. Fortunately the character allows deBoer to combine old and new elements, simultaneously giving her a foundation while leaving room for experimentation. And giving her an A story to build some chemistry with Captain Sisko before throwing her into the mix with the rest of the cast is a smart move.

    The B story with Worf, Quark, O'Brien, and Bashir trying to win Jadzia a spot in Sto-vo-kor through a dangerous mission, is just a paint by numbers story made up of elements we've seen before; but it gets away with it by doing it well and having some killer visual effects in the payoff. Meanwhile, the C story holds its own as Kira (with Odo) engages the Romulans in a "Cuban Missile Crisis" bluff.

    Finding just the right balance between them all, DS9 doesn't rush a moment or shortchange any of the featured characters - an incredible feat considering the three plot threads. (You could argue that Brock Peters, making his last appearance as Joseph Sisko, is useless and not really necessary to the story, but it's fun to have him included, and it's nice that the writers didn't gratuitously give him something to

    All that said, it is a bit disappointing that the Dominion War has shifted from a war between the Federation and the Dominion to a contest between the Prophets and the Pah-wraiths. Sisko, Admiral Ross, Damar, Weyoun and the Changeling leader are great characters, and we enjoy seeing their struggles, whereas the wormhole aliens and their adversaries are concepts that come across as more abstract and are less understandable.

  • The Siskos and a new Dax (TInkertrill) search for an orb on a desert planet. Kira squares off with a Romulan when they try to install weapons instead of a hospital on a Bajoran moon. Worf tries to ensure Jadzia an honorable afterlife.

    Worf is being typically Klingon (sort of) while trying to get Jadzia into the Klingon afterlife (can Trills get into the Klingon afterlife?).

    Kira's encounter with the Romulans is an attempt to further empower an already powerful character. Seems like it was a bit overkill to have dissention in the ranks of the alliance so early on though.

    Now onto the real problem I have with this episode. Sisko as a prophet. They turned a starfleet officer into Jesus. One of the things I always loved about Star Trek has been it's more or less pure devotion to science-having a deeply religious culture is one thing but having the captain as a messiah is something completely different.
  • Welcome back Dax

    After a brief absence we get another full dose of Dax. And somehow, it really is good to see her. I like the character of Ezri. I know she gets on peoples nerves a bit but I think she was well cast and the aspects of how split her personality is is an interesting twist of sorts. There is a lot going on here, three missions, if you will. When the episode started I must admit I feared that there was too much going on, that they wouldn't be able to fully develop each ark. But I must say they did a nice job. All three stories were told well and developed nicely. They all ended convincingly as well.

    To conclude I'd like to spend a brief moment discussing what the other two reviews have also discussed, what is undoubtedly the controversial part of this episode. And that is Sisko's true background. I completely understand and agree with wanting to keep religion out of Star Trek to focus on science, but in my opinion this episode doesn't make Sisko into a sort of Jesus. He's not the son of the prophets. They interfered in his life to make sure that he was born but he is not their son. In addition, he doesn't save anyone. He essentially just does what he is told, following the prophets bidding, and they do all the work. I also don't think that the prophets are really presented as gods per say. We often hear them called "wormhole aliens" and in many respects this name is more fitting. I think they have done convincing job in DS9 showing how otherwise regular life forms (the prophets, the changelings) can become gods to one people, while remaining their true "alien" self to everyone else. But that's just my opinion.

    Overall, I thought this was a good episode. A nice mixture of some more 'fun' and some 'darker' moments. A good beginning for the final season.
  • The final episode of three. Tension and drama is excellently built up across all the story fronts towards a dramatic and satisfying conclusion.

    An excellent conclusion to a multi-part storyline that encompasses several interesting plots across the duration of threes episodes. It certainly provides an excellent change in style from the normal 1 story/1 sub-story episodic format. Or the two-parter format. I think that overall it worked very well. Each story is probably strong enough to have been cast in its own episode. Yet combined they present a great combination of varying amounts of emotional drama, intrigue and action. However, I didn't feel any of the stories were exceptional. The trick with this episode was to get the timing right. To that end, it succeeds in building up the stakes and tension across all three episodes. Whats more, the scenes flitter effortlessly from one to another, without ruining the onscreen experience.

    The plots consisted of Sissiko's spiritual quest to reconnect to the Prophets. While also bonding with Dax. The visions in the desert, is an allusion to the experience of Jesus in the desert as his faith is tested. I thought the connection with the alternate relatity of the isolation ward brought an extra 'dimension' to this story, which the other stories don't possess.

    The Kira storyline to stop the Romulans clandestine expansion into the starsystem, the blockade and game bluff, build up a good amount of tension also.

    While Worf's mission to ensure Jadhzia's entrance to Stovokor provided a much needed element of action. The short battle and dangerous element was palatable as the solar flare finally rises from the stars surface. This was augmented by Worf's xenophobia of the Jadhzia's non-Klingon friends who also wanted to do right by her.

    There are a few scenes between Dumar and Weyoun's showing the continuing strain of their relationship, as the war effort takes another turn for the worse.

    All in all, you'll have to watch this episode, if you watched the previous two, if only to know how it all ends. I disagree with the previous reviewer. I can see his point about liking ST to deleve into religion notions and dogma. But given Sissko's character arc, its hard to see what else could have happened. Its all just another step towards his character's ultimate ascendancy. As for myself, I actually liked this different approach to the ST universe and find it one of Sissko's appealing qualities, compared to other ST captains.

    I recommend all three episodes to anyone who wants to watch some very enjoyable storylines.