Boldly Going “What You Leave Behind”

After seven seasons, it’s time to wrap up Star Trek Deep Space Nine. “What You Leave Behind” serves as the series finale, tying up several story threads, most importantly the end of the Dominion War. Sisko and his crew lead the final offensive against the Dominion, together with the Klingons and the Romulans, who joined the war in “In the Pale Moonlight.” The Dominion finally admit defeat and surrender. However, Sisko is called away mid-celebration by the Prophets to Bajor where he must fight Dukat and the Pah-wraiths, and assume his responsibilities as Emissary.

The biggest change as Deep Space Nine entered its final season was the introduction of Ezri as the new host of the Dax symbiont. Terry Farrell, the actress who played Jadzia, opted to not sign a contract for Season 7, so her character died in the Season 6 finale. It is revealed when the show returned from the summer break that the Dax symbiont was implanted in a Trill who was unprepared to receive it. Unlike Jadzia, Ezri did not spend any time training to host a symbiont.

Ezri Dax and Captain Sisko aboard the Defiant during the final offensive push.

The reintroduction of Dax with a new symbiont disrupts the relationships Jadzia had formed during her time on Deep Space Nine. The crew mourn Jadzia but accept Ezri as the new Dax soon after she arrives on the station. Worf is the only crewmember to have an issue with Ezri and that’s because when Worf joined the crew of Deep Space Nine at the beginning of Season 4, he slowly fell in love with Jadzia. The two were married in Season 6. Her death has a large impact on Worf and as a result his relationship with Ezri is complicated.

The surrender of the Dominion forces.

Even though I’m not as familiar with Star Trek Deep Space Nine as the other shows, I can appreciate what it means within the universe. It was the first show to use arc based storylines, especially in its later seasons. The finale itself is part of a 9 episode arc called “The Final Chapter.” While war was a threat occasionally on TNG, DS9 was the first time viewers saw an extended conflict. The station was on the front lines and the first line of defense for the Alpha Quadrant. As a result Sisko and his crew saw a lot of action and viewers got to examine the effects of war.

It’s worth noting that the first Star Trek series that was produced without Gene Roddenberry was the antithesis of the original premise of Star Trek. Instead of a “wagon train to the stars,” DS9 was the trading outpost on the Frontier. The crew didn’t explore as much as Kirk or Picard did. While they eventually did get a ship of their own, the Defiant, that coincided with the Dominion conflict. The ship was not one of exploration like the Enterprise, but one built to fight the Borg originally.

Sisko and Dukat fall into the Fire Caves of Bajor

The show explored the topic of religion far more than either of its predecessors. Throughout DS9, Sisko was regarded by the faithful Bajorans as the Emissary of their Prophets. He had never been religious himself and Starfleet never officially endorsed the role, as the Federation is non-religious. In “What You Leave Behind” Sisko is led by the Prophets to the Fire Caves on Bajor in order to defeat the Pah-wraiths. Unfortunately he must sacrifice himself, leaving his son and new wife Kasidy behind. Because of the non-linear nature of the Prophets, he tells Kasidy in a vision that he may return in a year, or yesterday.

Outside of the Star Trek fandom, it seems like DS9 isn’t as well known as TOS or TNG. Perhaps that’s because the arcs made the show unaccessible until Netflix was able to stream it. Interestingly during its first two seasons, DS9 ran alongside TNG, and then for five seasons, it ran alongside Star Trek Voyager, which I’ll start covering next time on Boldly Going.

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