Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Tacking Into the Wind   Rewatch 
December 15, 2016 3:06 AM - Season 7, Episode 22 - Subscribe

(Series Finale - Part 6 of 9) It is a period of civil war. Rebel Cardassians, striking from a hidden base, will attempt to win their first victory against the evil Dominion. During the battle, Cardassian spies hope to steal the Dominion's ultimate weapon, the BREEN ENERGY DAMPENER, an advanced energy projectile with enough power to disable an entire starship.

- René Echevarria made another major alteration to the overall plot in relation to "When It Rains...", which had a major knock-on effect on "Tacking Into the Wind"; "When I began working on "When It Rains...", the idea we'd plotted out was that Odo would learn that Section 31 had used him to give the disease to the Founders, but he was not going to get sick, just as Typhoid Mary never got sick. She just spread the disease. But as I got into it, I began thinking 'So what? So you find out something that's happened in the past. There's nothing to be done about it.' And I was a good fifteen, twenty pages in when I made the realization that Odo had to get sick. Ron already was working on "Tacking Into the Wind", and when I told him, he flipped his gourd. He said, 'No! You'll ruin everything!' But we hashed it out, and he agreed in order for this to be an ongoing storyline that mattered, Odo needed to get sick."

- The title of this episode is a nautical reference, describing when a ship follows a course against a gale by continually making course corrections.

- Initially, the plan for this episode was to have Worf simply convince Gowron that he was allowing his ego to guide his decisions and that he wasn't acting in the best interests of the Empire. Gowron would then simply return to Qo'noS and hand over control of the war effort to Martok. Ron Moore however felt that this was too simple and that it let the Klingon Empire off the hook too easily; "I wanted to view the Klingons in a different manner, and look at what I'd created with the same cold eye as Ezri. Yeah, these guys are corrupt, and Worf has put up with that for a long time. They talk a good game about how honorable they are, but they're not capable of living up to their ideals. That's an important thing to say, so let's say it."

- For his last day of shooting, actor Robert O'Reilly spent most of it on the ground playing the dead body of Gowron. At the end of the day, when filming wrapped, O'Reilly called out to Michael Dorn to help him up (as actors cannot get themselves up off the ground in full Klingon wardrobe). However, Dorn had already left the set, prompting O'Reilly to complain, "Boy, once they kill you off, they forget all about you."

- In TNG: "Reunion", Worf kills Duras, resulting in Gowron's accession to become the Chancellor; in this episode, Worf kills Gowron, thereby ending his reign. Worf was thus responsible for Gowron's rise to power and his downfall.

- Armin Shimerman's wife, Kitty Swink, makes another DS9 guest appearance here as Luaran. She had made a previous guest appearance as Rozahn in "Sanctuary". Shimerman himself doesn't appear in this episode or the next (so Bashir and O'Brien meet always in an empty Quark's). He was shooting the final episodes of the third season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, in which his character, Principal Snyder, had an important role.

"This entire operation has been a waste of resources, men and equipment. The blame lies with the man who ordered the mission in the first place, not the man who tried to carry it out!"

- Sisko to Gowron

"If I don't want pity from the woman I love, why would I want it from you?"

- Odo, to Garak

"If our cloning facilities were operational, I would eliminate this Weyoun immediately."

- Female Changeling, to Thot Pran

"They're dead. They weren't a part of this rebellion. The Dominion knew that. The Founder knew that. Weyoun knew that. To kill her and my son... the casual brutality of it... the waste of life. What kind of state tolerates the murder of innocent women and children? What kind of people give those orders?"
"Yeah, Damar, what kind of people give those orders?"

- Damar and Kira

"I will fight any battle. Anywhere. For the empire."

- Martok
posted by CheesesOfBrazil (9 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Top work on the above the fold episode description. TOP WORK!
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 3:57 AM on December 15, 2016 [6 favorites]

Yeah, well, I forgot the Memory Alpha episode link, so here's that -_-
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 5:35 AM on December 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

It is a period of civil war. Rebel Cardassians, striking from a hidden base...

Impressive... Most impressive.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 7:28 AM on December 15, 2016

This is the episode where seven years of character creation and depth all comes together. And it is glorious. Tight writing and a great, tense storyline. This wouldn't have been possible to do effectively in earlier seasons. We needed time to get to know all of the characters involved and the build-up to these moments had to be gradual.

Everyone has their backs against the wall in this episode, in one way or another. Has their ideologies called into question -- and some of the resolutions are messy. That scene where Rosot aims his phaser on Kira and Garak points his phaser at Rosot was just fantastic. We never ever know quite where Garak's loyalties lie, but this:

Rusot: "You're still a Cardassian, Garak! You're not going to kill one of your own people for a Bajoran woman!"
Garak: "How little you understand me."

...was brilliant. He has always been one of the show's most complex and interesting characters and now we're seeing yet another side of him. Except truth be told, it was there all along.

And this... holy cow, this scene:

Kira: "Yeah, Damar, what kind of people give those orders?"

I gasped. And had chills. Kira is normally blunt, but this was like watching her slip a blade between his ribs and stab him square in the heart. Delivered in just the right tone, and letting just the right amount of pain and anguish and hatred show through.

The build-up to this moment took seven years, and it's because of that background that we understand what she means without any further context or explanation. For Damar this will be a moment of revelation: when Cardassians were at Terok Nor, this is what they did to the Bajorans. They thought of the Bajorans as inferior sheep who didn't know their rightful place in the universe. And now, the Cardassians' karmic chickens are coming home to roost. Miraculously, he gets it.

This arc of nine episodes is also a character arc for some of the characters, and Damar in particular. But it's the culmination of arcs that have been building across several seasons, as well. In Garak's case, his evolution has been building throughout the series. He believes Damar could lead Cardassia out from under the Dominion's thumb, and his loyalty to Kira and distaste for the Old Cardassia way of doing things is evident. He's gone from being a self-loathing outcast to Cardassia's behind-the-scenes savior. An awesome and entirely in-character development.

Ezri: "Who was the last leader of the High Council that you respected? Has there even been one? And how many times have you had to cover up the crimes of Klingon leaders because you were told it was for the good of the Empire? I know this sounds harsh, but the truth is, you have been willing to accept a government that you know is corrupt. Gowron's just the latest example. Worf, you are the most honourable and decent man I've ever met, and if you're willing to tolerate men like Gowron, then what hope is there for the Empire?"

As for Worf... this is the episode where he concludes that honor isn't about blindly following one's leaders. It's not about who your parents were, what house you belong to or where you come from. It's about doing what's right, when you know what the right choice is. Something he knew already in his heart thanks to years and years of experiences dealing with the Empire and individual Klingons, but needed to be reminded of. Moreover, this seems to be the moment where he finally loses his rasied-as-an-outsider's idealism about Klingons and honor. That loss of idealism seems to be mirrored in Damar as well. And in O'Brien and Bashir regarding Section 31. And perhaps even in Weyoun regarding the Founder, Suzy Goo. It's a theme.

Martok's final plea to Worf -- that he never sought the leadership is perfectly matched by Worf's reply: "Great men do not seek power, they have power thrust upon them."

A beautifully written, wonderfully presented episode. One of DS9's best.
posted by zarq at 8:21 AM on December 15, 2016 [19 favorites]

The Ezri/Worf scene about how the Klingon Empire maybe deserves to die since it has become so corrupt felt sadly timely, in light of current events. Not just the impending Trumpocalypse, but the years of hypocrisy of curtailing freedoms in the name of anti-terrorism.
posted by oh yeah! at 8:24 AM on December 15, 2016 [6 favorites]

Not a lot to add (for once) to zarq's summation, although I would like to include Damar's summation after he shoots Rusot: "He was my friend. But his Cardassia is dead and won't be coming back." Left unsaid is, "nor should it." I think that he processed what Kira said earlier, and probably realized that that was also her reminding him of Ziyal.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:12 AM on December 15, 2016 [5 favorites]

I agree with all of the above. A case could be made that this episode is the true climax of DS9, with the remaining three being various facets of the payoff. After all, we already know that the good guys will win (w/r/t the war and the Pah-Wraith business), but this episode reveals a great deal of how it will happen, which plot-wise has possibly more resonance than the payoff itself.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 9:49 AM on December 15, 2016 [7 favorites]

I concur with the paeans above. For once, for me, a last-season episode that did NOT aggravate me or lead me to shout at the screen in disagreement. I suppose, in part, this is due to Ezri expressing what's been unmistakable about the Klingons over the entire arc of TNG and DS9 despite Ron's well-warranted efforts to create a living SF exoculture, honestly, this was successful for me even wearing my sweat-stained Niners cap.
posted by mwhybark at 7:25 PM on December 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

"Great men do not seek power, they have power thrust upon them."

Essentially the thesis of this episode (and dovetails beautifully with Damar's evolution as a character, though you may understandably dispute "great"). I also feel like this line, and this episode, is the culmination of one of DS9's great themes: the ways individual people are shaped by the forces of history; the ways our lives, our selves, our entire beings are changed by the events of the world around us.

Nominally, DS9 is about how individual people can change the course of history. But the show is much more concerned with the way that the course of history changes individual people.
posted by duffell at 4:56 AM on May 4, 2019 [2 favorites]

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