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.