This episode tackles an intriguing concept - how do young adults, even those trained as soldiers, handle the stress of war? This episode answers that question, fairly or unfairly, in a grim fashion: without the wisdom and humility of experience, the arrogance and rawness of youth is doomed to failure.
The characters of Red Squad are generally unremarkable, though they do manage to convey the inevitable nervousness of brilliant youngsters in way over their heads. There is an exception for Nog and Jake's young friend. But in the end, it's Nog and Jake - still friends, but no longer children - who provide the emotional depth that carries this episode. It's their presence that turns the Valiant's demise into tragedy.