If there’s a theme for the fifth season, it is definitely the war with the Dominion, with some battles with the Klingons a close second. The subject of war seems to overshadow everything else that goes on this season. The Jem’Hadar, the Founders, and the Vorta play prominent roles in many of the episodes.
The fifth season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, picks up the story as it was left at the end of the fourth season. The Federation is seemingly at war with the Klingons, while due to the Changeling Odo’s (Rene Auberjonois)revelation, everyone now believes that the Klingon leader, Gowron, is dead and has been replaced by a Changeling. How this story is resolved is a pretty good story as four of Deep Space Nine’s personnel go undercover in an attempt to reveal Gowron’s true identity during a Klingon military award ceremony.
Odo must also cope with being a human, and all of the failings that come with that over being a Changeling. It’s a difficult situation for him, especially when it results in his having a broken leg at one point in time. When the Klingon Worf (Michael Dorn) and Cardassian Garak (Andrew J. Robinson) are imprisoned in a Dominion Internment Camp, they learn one of their own aboard the station has been replaced by a Changeling, along with finding a comrade thought long lost. All this happens as the Dominion are preparing a major offensive into the Alpha Quadrant.
There are some interesting and quite thought-provoking episodes during this time. Captain Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks) faces a few moral dilemmas. One is during a stand-off with the Jem’Hadar during which he must choose whether to allow a member of his crew to die or to give something highly coveted back to the Jem’Hadar. Jake Sisko (Cirroc Lofton) gets some real battle experience during a mission to a Federation colony with Dr. Bashir (Alexander Siddig). Odo relives a moment of his past that still haunts him when he allowed innocent Bajorans to die, only this time it is his friends from the present time he sees executed. Sisko also must decide if “two wrongs make a right” when he encounters a renegade Starfleet officer intent on poisoning the atmosphere of Cardassian colonies n and around the demilitarized zone.
Just as Bajor seems poised to join the Federation, Sisko has a vision that jeopardizes this decision.
That’s not to say the lighthearted moments are gone. In one episode we meet the Ferengi Quark’s (Armin Shimerman) ex-wife, a Klingon woman. If there was ever a mismatch made in heaven…. The Klingon Worf (Michael Dorn) and Trill Dax (Terry Farrell) explore their relationship on the pleasure planet Risa. Vanessa Williams makes a guest appearance in this episode as a former lover of Curzon Dax. Dr. Bashir is chosen to be the model for the Emergency Medical Hologram.
Another interesting point of the season was how the pregnancy of Nana Visitor, who portrays Kira Nerys, was written into the script. Following a shuttle accident where Keiko O’Brien was injured, the child she was carrying was transplanted into Kira to save its life. When the child is delivered, it’s a more emotional time for Kira than she’d thought it would be.
The highlight of the season has to be the masterpiece Trials and Tribble-ations. In this technological masterpiece, the past and present are brought together as some of the cast of Deep Space Nine seemingly interact with the crew of the Enterprise commanded by Captain Kirk in the episode The Trouble with Tribbles.
As the season draws to a close, Sisko must order all Starfleet personnel to leave Deep Space Nine after his attempt to mine the entrance to the wormhole prove unsuccessful. Will he be able to fulfill his promise to return?
This might be the best season Star Trek: Deep Space Nine had. Almost all of the episodes seem to hit the mark; there are very few that have lacking moments in the plot. The ensemble cast has had time to develop a rapport and fit together nicely. This is especially nice in the case of Worf, who only joined the show last season. Michael Dorn has done a fine job keeping Worf true to the character he began on Star Trek: The Next Generation, as well as having him mesh with this cast convincingly. The stand-alone episodes are for the most part quite solid on their own, while those in the story arc contribute a great deal and give the story has many twists and turns as a looping roller-coaster.
Disc One contains the episodes Apocalypse Rising, The Ship, Looking for par’Mach in All the Wrong Places, and … Nor the battle to the Strong
Disc Two contains the episodes The Assignment, Trials and Tribble-ations, Let He Who Is Without Sin…, and Things Past
Disc Three contains the episodes The Ascent, Rapture, The Darkness and The Light, and The Begotten
Disc Four contains the episodes For the Uniform, In Purgatory’s Shadow, By Inferno’s Light, and Doctor Bashir, I Presume?
Disc Five contains the episodes A Simple Investigation, Business as Usual, Ties of Blood and Water, and Ferengi Love Songs
Disc Six contains the episodes Soldiers of the Empire, Children of Time, Blaze of Glory, and Empok Nor
Disc Seven contains the episodes In the Cards and Call to Arms plus the Special Features.
Paramount has once again put out a good set of Special Features in this DVD set. There were some quite memorable episodes and story points during the season.
Trials and Tribble-ations Uniting Two Legends – Here the cast and crew talk about the episode which combined the characters of DS9 with the original episode The Trouble with Tribbles, including the technical aspects of it.
Trials and Tribble-ations An Historic Endeavor – The staff talks about the work that went into this episode, recreating sets, etc. It was hard to clean up the original film to show it as it was, not how most of us saw it – on questionable equipment. The sets had to be exact because the fan base knows how the lights reflect off of certain items in certain scenes.
Crew Dossier – Miles O’Brien – Colm Meaney talks about the character. He’s a family man, from the Enterprise and represents “everyman” designed as a working-class character. The friendship between O’Brien and Bashir is touched on as well, since they start out as complete opposites, intensely disliking each other. They are the working-class Irishman and the man with the elite British accent – a study in contrasts.
Inside DS9 with Michael Okuda – scenic arts supervisor Michael Okuda and his work in the series is profiled.
Michael Westmore’s Aliens – talks about the makeup effects for the season. Transforming Brooks, Meaney, and to Klingons in Apocalypse Rising.
There’s a Photo Gallery with about 3 dozen still photos from the show.
Trailer for the Indiana Jones Boxed Set coming out in November 2003. Gee, that’s already out so this is dated.
Section 31 “Hidden Files” – This is a series of short bits about episodes Ties of Blood and Water, The Begotten, The Ascent, Soldiers of the Empire, Ferengi Love Songs, Doctor Bashir, I Presume?, interviews with writer Robert Scott Wolfe who left at the end of season 5, Jeffrey Combs who portrayed Weyoun and a few other characters on the series, and J.G. Hertzler who portrayed Martok.
The show is definitely more serialized at this point, so it’s important to watch the seasons leading up to this to really grasp what’s happening. However, this just might be the best season of the series. The cast has really expanded to be a true ensemble, and the story reaches its peak. For Star Trek fans, it’s must-see viewing.