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The Trek Nation - In Purgatory's Shadow

In Purgatory's Shadow

By Michelle Erica Green
Posted at January 13, 2004 - 10:34 AM GMT

See Also: 'In Purgatory's Shadow' Episode Guide

While Worf and Garak are held prisoner in the Gamma Quadrant, Sisko learns of an impending Dominion invasion.

Analysis:

I really hope this episode was what it looked like, namely the beginning of the DS9 equivalent of the Shadow War...and I hope that this war won't be as abortive as the one on B5. Not that I'm a fan of carnage and destruction - what impressed me about this episode was that, considering it was a buildup to a battle, it was about everything but. Great stuff.

Several of my favorite DS9 character arcs made an appearance here. Odo and Kira, Garak and Bashir, Garak and Tain, Dukat and Ziyal, Dukat and Kira. We did have to sit through a little Dax/Worf, but I'm glad to have Martok back and closure on that situation. The real Martok, the fake Bashir...the only thing I regret about the latter is that he must have been replaced before this episode started, so that little fit of jealousy over Garak's interest in Ziyal wasn't real!

I hate Ziyal's Oedipal crush on the tailor - he is older than her father, for heaven's sake, and she is a teenager! But it was played nicely on Garak's part, and the revelation that Tain really is his father - hardly a surprise - was gripping and emotional. Nice character development, setting us up well for later developments. Even the characters who only got momentary heads-up - Odo, for instance, still interested in human sexuality - had telling lines instead of the usual throwaway appearances. The one exception, as usual of late, was Kira, sniveling over the Prophets instead of demanding that Sisko consult with Bajoran authorities before blowing their wormhole and their Prophets to kingdom come.

It's hard to evaluate a prequel without the sequel, and all too often on Trek the Part Is are vastly better than the Part IIs, so I can only hope that the climax lives up to the buildup. I hope we don't get any more stupid jokes about Worf being more fun, any more posturing by Dukat over Ziyal...much as I liked the loose ends tied up in this episode, they were predictable enough that I fear more of the same. I'd like to think that Garak's crack about sentiment being the greatest weakness of all being both the theme and the moral of the episode. DS9 has always been best focusing on people, not grand political schemes or planetary wars, and I hope the character development takes on the depth it deserves.

Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Michelle Erica Green reviews 'Enterprise' episodes for the Trek Nation, for which she is also a news writer. An archive of her work can be found at The Little Review.