Ezri and Worf are tortured by the Breen, Dukat woos Winn, and Sisko tells Yates that the Prophets have told him he must give her up.
Plot Summary: While Sisko worries about the Prophet Sarah’s warning that he must not marry Yates, Winn comes to the station to try to direct the ceremony. Shortly after she expresses jealousy that the Prophets have never appeared to her, she has a vision telling her that Sisko has faltered and a new guide will help her to restore Bajor. As Weyoun takes Damar on a secret mission, Dukat travels to the station, where he greets the Kai under the name of Anjohl, a Bajoran farmer who speaks of restoring his land. The Kai welcomes him and discovers that they have similar views on the Occupation and the Emissary. Meanwhile, Sisko breaks the news to Yates that he can’t marry her if the Prophets have warned him against it. Kira is supportive, but Sisko is devastated when Yates packs to leave for good. Aboard the Breen ship, Worf and Ezri initially support one another, but when torture reveals his ongoing attachment to Jadzia and her repressed crush on Bashir, they argue. Dukat comes to Winn to tell her of miraculous happenings at his farm, which she believes is a sign from the Prophets that he belongs by her side and in her bed. At the same time, Sisko, stops Yates’ ship from leaving, telling her that he wants to marry her no matter what the Prophets say. Ross performs the ceremony before a hastily assembled crew, though Kira worries for Sisko’s future and the Prophet Sarah appears to Sisko as he takes his vows to warn him that he will know only sorrow if he goes through with the wedding. Elsewhere in the quadrant, the Breen take Worf and Ezri to beam aboard the ship carrying Weyoun and the Founder, where Weyoun tells the Starfleet officers and Damar that they should be honored to witness a historic moment, the birth of an alliance between the Dominion and the Breen.
Analysis: “‘Til Death Do Us Part” is one of my all-time favorite TV episodes, so forgive me if I gush. There were things that irritated me the first time around, like what a fool Dukat seems to be making of Winn, but now that we know the real Adami – who will maintain her alliance with her people’s arch-nemesis even after she knows who he is – I have nothing but gratitude for their story arc. How often do we get to see a couple of their respective ages launch into a passionate love affair? How often do we get to see a woman feel as glorious as the Kai does when Dukat comes to her bed, which she takes as an indication not only of her desirability, but of her empowerment and her gods’ blessing? Both these people have gone from being shrewd political players to believing that they are Bajoran messiahs, and their mutual craziness on top of their resentment of Sisko and the Prophets proves to be a powerful aphrodisiac. Even though Dukat is courting Winn for selfish reasons, there’s a real connection between the two of them, and it doesn’t go away when she finds out who he really is. It’s also pretty hilarious that while the Prophets are trying to stop their Emissary from making a huge mistake in his love life, they are completely ignoring their official representative on Bajor, and the disgusted, disapproving faces that Ranjin Solbor wears throughout add to the delight of watching. Of all the relationships explored in this installment – Sisko’s deep love for Yates, Kira and Odo’s quiet devotion, Worf and Dax’s ongoing confusion – none is as sexy as Winn and Dukat’s, and somehow knowing that they’re going to destroy each other just makes it better. Have two people ever deserved each other more than this pair?
By contrast, the farewell between Dukat and Damar is oddly moving. This time around, knowing how much the character will change, I’m much more forgiving of Damar, so it’s a shock to be reminded that Damar still thinks Dukat was a great leader rather than a brutal tyrant. Too bad there’s no mention of Ziyal, who transformed these men and their friendship and is presumably the reason that Damar is helping Dukat despite knowing that Dukat has lost his mind. It’s also impossible not to root for Damar to kill Weyoun and all of his smug clones, even though there are more practical reasons for wanting a schism in the Dominion-Cardassian alliance, which seems inevitable now that the Breen have arrived with their own demands. It’s too bad there are no more familiar villains to bring into the war, because we know too little about the Breen to have much invested in their politics – just imagine if the Borg tried to cure the Great Link by assimilating it, I’m not sure who would overwhelm whom – but they add a sort of Star Wars space opera element to the proceedings, partly because they all dress like Bounty Hunter Princess Leia and partly because they engage in torture without asking any questions like Darth Vader’s minions in Cloud City. Clearly the mind probe was used by the writers as a shortcut to get Worf and Ezri talking about things they couldn’t realistically have them blurting out in their sleep. I’m still not sure Bashir is mature enough for Dax, but current series Julian/Ezri is a far better match than the just-out-of-school doctor ever would have been for Jadzia, and I’m holding out hope that after so many lifetimes, Dax knows about Section 31 and has been waiting for just such an opportunity to get close to someone who can tell her their secrets.
One of the great aspects of the relationships on Deep Space Nine is that none of them have been based on the sort of puppy love Julian felt for Jadzia. Indeed, apart from Odo, none of the characters is with his or her first love: Rom finds a true mate in Leeta after having had his heart broken by Nog’s mother, Dax has been married many times over many lifetimes and is beginning to see why the reassociation taboo makes sense, Kira has had two serious partnerships before Odo and accepted the will of the Prophets when she and Shakaar were told that a life bond was not to be. Perhaps this is why she finds it hard to accept that Sisko would go against the Prophets to marry Yates. It has taken Sisko nearly a decade to get over the death of his wife Jennifer, and he and Yates have overcome some pretty enormous obstacles already, none bigger than the fact that he sent her to prison for working with the Maquis. This isn’t some Romeo-and-Juliet youthful whim, this is a mature relationship for which both parties have already made sacrifices, and it’s hard to blame Sisko for being angry at the Prophets, whom he blames not only for Jadzia’s death, which he assumes to be the price paid for the destruction of the Dominion fleet in the wormhole, but for the deception and lies surrounding his birth to a Prophet-possessed woman he never knew. Yates accepts Sisko’s initial decision to let her go somewhat stoically, with no more drama than the Prophet Sarah shows later when she realizes that the child she helped birth will choose a path she believes will only bring him pain. It’s precisely because Yates shows her understanding of the fact that his role as the Emissary will always come first for Sisko – ahead of his roles as Starfleet officer or father or husband – that she is the right woman for him. And apparently the fact that he will question the Prophets directly for her makes him the right man for her.