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Star Trek DS9 - Season 7 - Episode 26

Star Trek DS9 - 7x26 - What You Leave Behind, Part II

Originally Aired: 1999-6-2

The confrontation with the Dominion comes to a climax, as does Sisko's fate. [DVD]

My Rating - 10

Fan Rating Average - 4.87

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Filler Quotient: 0, not filler, do not skip this episode.
- Numerous major long term plot threads are serviced here.


- This episode is a candidate for my "Best Episode of DS9 Award."
- Garak's 39th episode.
- Well in excess of 800 million were killed on Cardassia Prime during the founder's genocidal campaign.
- One of the punches Sisko throws at Dukat actually landed. Marc Alaimo ended up going to the hospital still in full Cardassian make up to be treated.

Remarkable Scenes
- Female shapeshifter: "My loyal Weyoun. The only solid I have ever trusted."
- Damar and his group charging into the Cardassian Central Command building.
- Garak murdering Weyoun.
- Winn poisoning Dukat.
- Seeing Cardassia Prime completely destroyed in an external shot.
- Odo meeting with the female shapeshifter.
- Odo linking with the female shapeshifter, curing her, and making her finally understand the solids the way Odo does.
- Martok: "This is a moment worth savoring. To victory! Hard fought and well earned." Martok kept the promise he made at this time last year. Martok, Sisko, and Ross shared blood wine on Cardassia Prime.
- Martok, regarding the dead Cardassians: "Bajorans would call this poetic justice."
- Bashir and Garak discussing the aftermath of the war for Cardassia.
- The female shapeshifter officially surrendering aboard DS9.
- Ross: "Today the guns are silent. The great tragedy has ended. We have known the bitterness of defeat and the exhortation of triumph. From both we have learned there can be no going back. We must move forward to preserve in peace what we've won in war."
- Worf becoming Federation ambassador to the Klingon Empire.
- Sisko confronting Dukat.
- Sisko to Dukat: "First the Dominion, now the Pah-wraith. You have a talent for picking the losing sides!"
- Dukat killing Kai Winn.
- Sisko plunging himself and Dukat into the Pah-wraith's fire.
- Sisko's meeting with Kassidy in the Celestial Temple, declaring that his life isn't linear, that he could be back at any time, future or past, and that he *will* be back, for the prophets still have much for him to do.
- Chief O'Brien finding the little toy soldier he thought Julian lost.
- The flashbacks.
- Quark's last scene with Odo.
- Odo curing his people and rejoining the Great Link.
- Lieutenant Nog. Cool!
- Kira examining Sisko's baseball. He left it... he'll be back...
- Quark, after being accosted by Kira for setting up gambling pools on who's going to be the next Kai: "The more things change, the more they stay the same." These were the last words spoken on DS9.
- Jake and Kira observing the wormhole as the camera zooms away from the station...
- Morn Appearances; 1. Is shown during the flashback to DS9: Badda-Bing Badda-Bang. 2. Sells Morn a compound that's "guaranteed to grow hair within a week." 3. Quark's last line, the final words spoken on DS9, were addressed to Morn.

My Review
Even when the founder is captured, the war is still not over, for the Jem'Hadar and the Breen will fight to the last man. She was so bitter, she was willing to let the war drag on until every one of her soldiers were killed before she surrendered. But Odo, in his everlasting forgiveness for his people, was able to finally make the female shapeshifter understand solids as he does when he linked with her and cured her. And so ends the Dominion war. The war was wrapped up early on, which I liked. It gave the episode time to wrap up the Prophets vs. Pah-wraith conflict that's been building as well; Dukat and Sisko duke it out one last time. As a result, Dukat burns in "hell" with the Pah-wraiths for eternity and Sisko is elevated to "heaven" in the Celestial Temple. I like how the writers left the "fate" of his character relatively open ended. He may, no, he *will* return! Worf leaves the station too, going to the Klingon Empire to spend some time with Martok as the Federation ambassador to Kronos. And O'Brien leaves as well, returning to Earth to become a professor at Starfleet academy, I'm sure much to Keiko's delight. She never liked DS9. The finale seems to capture everything that made DS9 so great over the years. The attention to detail in the various send offs for the characters was great; I must say I truly feel more satisfied with this finale than I have with any other before. Even if we never see a DS9 movie, or more episodes depicting the station, I'll be happy with how the show ended. This episode gives us real closure for the first time ever in Star Trek. And so ends Star Trek Deep Space Nine, which is in my opinion the greatest Star Trek series ever done.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Pete Miller on 2006-07-29 at 2:29am:
    This finale makes "All Good Things..." look like an article of trash. DS9 stayed true to itself down to the bitter end. Everyone doesn't live happily ever after and stay together on the station for a set of new movies. No, DS9 is a very human show, a very realistic one. Though I've heard the writers and producers say that DS9 contains so many shades of gray, the finale was very clear cut. When the founder ordered the eradication of the Cardassians, you could see pure evil in her face. On the same token, Sisko made the ultimate sacrifice for Good in the end.

    The finale captured everything DS9 was about, as well. It had awesome action sequences, political intrigue, ethereal matters, and of course emotional and moral matters. Towards the end, when Sisko sacrificed himself, I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes. When he kissed Kassidy in the celestial temple and she realized what he had done, I absolutely burst into tears. I'm a grown man, and there are very few things that make me cry. The conclusion was truly powerful, and it is something I will never forget.

    In the end, the show is about people. It's about the imperfection of humanity, something not covered in other Star Trek series. However, contrary to many critics' opinions, DS9 shows the most optimistic picture of the future of any of the Star Trek series. It shows that, even with our faults, humans will make the right decisions and contribute positively to the universe in the future when all is said and done. For every man like Sloan or the Female Shapeshifter, there is a greater man like Sisko or O'brien. I wholeheartedly agree with Eric when I say that DS9 is, without question, FAR superior to every other Star Trek series.

    Finally I know it's kind of corny to award this to the finale, but I am absolutely compelled to award "Best Episode of DS9" to "What You Leave Behind". It simply embodies everything DS9 is about; all the things I mentioned above. If I had to take an episode of DS9 to someone and say "this episode is what DS9 is", then this is the one. It is indescribably powerful and moving, especially if you have seen all 7 seasons culminate up to that point. It may very well be the best episode of Star Trek period, but I haven't seen all of Voyager or Enterprise yet, so I can't pass judgement.

    All I can say is "Deep Space Nine, you will be missed."
  • From rpeh on 2010-08-05 at 6:05pm:
    A good finale; nay, a great one - but not without its flaws. The flashbacks were mawkish and sentimental, and I have a feeling that the war was over a bit too quickly.

    There's also a sense of an attempt to seal the fates of several characters - and the DVD extras even have Ira Behr saying that was the intent. Resolving O'Brien and Worf looks to me like an attempt to give closure to TNG more than DS9, but what's next for Kira, Dax, and Bashir?

    Turning the battle between the Prophets and the Pah-wraiths into a christian-like Heaven vs Hell struggle didn't sit well with me either.

    DS9 set new heights for Star Trek. I think two or three TNG episodes were better than anything the series had to offer, entirely because Patrick Stewart was the best actor ever to grace the Trek franchise, but there can't be any doubt that the average on DS9 was higher than anywhere else, and it had its own fair share of hits.

    The only problem is that by wrapping up some characters and not others, the writers essentially ruined any chance of a film being made.

    This episode gets an 8 for being too sentimental, but the series gets a full 10.
  • From MJ on 2011-01-29 at 1:00pm:
    Decent finale. But not great. DS9 bit off more than it could chew in this final episode. In TNG, they focused the entire two-part ending on the one problem and involved the entire crew coming together to solve it, while also being able to reflect back on earlier themes throughout the show. In DS9, they tried to wrap up the Dominion War, the Prophets/Pah-Wraith thing, and also send the individual characters on their separate paths all in one two-parter. And it didn’t go well in my view.

    The Dominion War ended very suddenly. This was DS9’s greatest contribution to Star Trek, and while the final battle was spectacular, there are just so many unanswered questions. Most of the episode should have been focused on the war and its aftermath, and maybe Section 31 which is a potentially huge subplot. Instead, a lot of time is spent wrapping up this Pah-Wraith struggle, which is probably DS9’s worst contribution to Star Trek and I think damages the show’s credibility somewhat. Not only that, but we have to endure one final scene of Vic Fontaine’s singing rather than actual plot. What a waste of time.

    Then we have a series of scenes that try to clarify what will happen to each person. It’s an odd transition between the Dominion War struggle and the Pah-Wraith fight. It slows things down and gets you ready for the end, but then suddenly Sisko goes back to fight a possessed Dukat and "dies" in an apocalyptic battle that also ends very suddenly. Following this is a quick attempt to focus on how this impacts Yates and Jake, and then a series of flashbacks of everyone's fondest memories.

    The whole thing was fast, and seemed a very forced attempt to end so many themes and plots that it really didn’t give me the same sense of finale that I had after viewing “All Good Things”. I agree that DS9’s average episodes were more exciting than TNG’s average episodes, and that DS9 had just as many ethical, political, and social messages as TNG. But as finales go, I think TNG outshines this one just a bit. But even if you’re not into the whole comparison thing, it’s just a weird way to end a spectacular saga.

    The flashback moments were touching, and Odo’s rejoining the Great Link was a nicely done scene. I didn’t like Odo and Quark’s parting; DS9 has done some awkward goodbyes (like Picard and O’Brien at the opener) and this one was no different.

    But overall I’d give part 1 a 9, and part 2 a 6.
  • From PaulBW on 2012-05-26 at 2:51am:
    Underwhelming as a follow up to the excellent part one. Gul Dukat's 15 minutes as a super-villian felt unnessary, especially for all the tedious build-up we had to endure to get to that point. Though I did get sentimental towards the end of the episode when the characters met their final conclusions in the series.

    After Quark says, "hasn't there been enough change around here already." I felt like it would of been a perfect moment for Morn to say a word or too. A simple "ya" would have been hilarious. It would play into the times-are-changin theme they got going on this second half.
  • From L on 2013-08-19 at 6:07am:
    Then I guess everything's wrapped up in a neat little package.

    Awesome battle scenes.

    I think what made this show great was the writing and development of the villains, which was made possible by doing the larger arcs, and also that they were able to make them complex and sympathetic with shades of grey well as all-out evil. The acting of the Cardassians, Vorta, Jem-Hadaar and the Ferengi eclipses everyone else's (all the 'nice' races) performance for some reason, or they're just more compelling to me.
    The exploration of darker and heavier themes was also to its merit.
    The development of the Ferenghi culture over TNG was very welcome and priceless.

    I wasn't particularly moved by the wrap-up however - I think the only flashback that touched me was that showing the relationship of Jake and Sisko, truly one of the greatest father/son relationships ever portrayed on television.

    I feel a bit let down by the fact that I didn't really care in the end about the fate of the characters - possibly it's the 'spiritual' ridiculousness of Sisko's fate that poured cold water on it for me, plus the farewell party in the Vegas holosuite seemed pointless and cheesy, as that whole Vic/smooth jazzclub sub-plot always did.
    The best flashback to me was the one showing a lanky Bashir in a lycra body-suit playing whatever that squash game was with O'Brien.

    This just did not have the same impact as TNG for me, that felt so much more of a family and had a really positive feeling. Perhaps it's the lack of optimism in this ending, as lots of heavy stuff has been going on - we've all lost our Star Trek innocence and future idealism now.

    My lack of emotional investment started half-way through the last season with my resistance to the Bajoran culture and religion and the blind faith being advocated, so I'm just glad to have got through it.

    I can see why it's praised. Definitely some fantastic moments.
    Now onto Voyager.
  • From Rob UK on 2013-12-01 at 1:23pm:
    I will write something more on this episode at some point as in regards to the ending of a Star Trek season i think it is the best, sidetracked.

    My reason for writing now is Major Kira who seems to have turned into first a Sith lord (see previous episode as she lurks all cloaked up conducting the dissent on Kardasia) an then in this episode she goes all Princess Leah invading Jabba's Palace with the captured Chewbacca and the thermal detonator as she is dressed as the Breen to save Garrick and co, if she had just said "Someone who loves you" in response to someone asking "Who are you?" from under the Breen helmet we were complete in the homage.

    I know Star Wars and Star Trek comparatives i have probably broken all the rules of fandom, anyone sitting there melting at their computer at my foibles please forgive, count to ten and breath deep, no offense was ever intended as i am a fan of it all
  • From Alex on 2014-05-19 at 7:08pm:
    I`ll be honest,i personally thought DS9 was the most overrated steaming heap of manure ever to masquerade as anything to be connected with star trek.The star trek ethos is meant to be to boldly go and explore,not to bore everyone whitless about the inane goings on (and lets face it,for the first 2 series the SCI-FI CONTENT was negligible)at a second rate Babylon 5 effort.The only thing that made it bearable was the introduction of Worf,the Defiant(something to get off that bloody station)and the Dominion story arc which at times was brilliant,especially the episode Rocks And Shoals.To finish this is not a series i will miss in anyway,good riddance
  • From mandeponium on 2014-08-02 at 8:39pm:
    This is the episode I've been waiting for since Episode 1 and the start of the Dominion War. It all finally culminates here with the fight that means everything but also changes everything.

    It's the last task to save the thing that you love the most. But in doing so, the fighting changes the thing and you can't go back to it. You can't go back to the way things were. You've saved it but it's different now than when you left it. Garak lost 800 million countrymen. He can never go back to the Cardassia he knew. Even if the thing hadn't changed, you still couldn't go back because now you're different. The struggle changed you. Sisko now lives with the prophets.

    It reminded me a lot of the end of Lord of the Rings. Maybe DS9 copied it or maybe they both copied the broader archetype: the struggle to save followed by loss.
    "We set out to save the Shire, Sam and it has been saved - but not for me," says Frodo as he makes way to the ships that will take him to the White Shores.
  • From RichD on 2016-09-29 at 5:26pm:
    A great finale for a great series. I recently re-watched the entire series on Netflix. DS9 gets my vote as the best ST series. TOS was the 1st so it must be respected. TNG had the master thespian. ENT and VOY had their moments, but DS9 was much more complex and diverse. It told so many different stories, and it told them well. I loved the series when I first watched it, and I love it even more now after watching it again. I'm almost a little misty that's over, ha!

    My top ten episodes:

    In the Pale Moonlight
    The Visitor
    The Die is Cast
    By Inferno's Light
    The Siege of AR-558
    In Purgatory's Shadow
    The Way of the Warrior
    Trials and Tribble-ations
    A time to Stand

  • From ChristopherA on 2021-09-12 at 11:06pm:
    I like that DS9 has a proper finale to wrap things up. The timing of network television made it hard for many series to have satisfactory finales (look at how poor Babylon 5 went through the ringer), so it is great that the series had a proper finale, though it really varies how well each storyline was wrapped up.

    The conclusion to the Dominion war was really the long-awaited part and I thought the finale was really quite an excellent ending to the war, with the Dominion turning on Cardassia, Cardassia turning on the Dominion, and the female shapeshifter fighting to the bitter end until Odo links with her and brings peace by rejoining the Great Link. My only complaint is not with the finale itself, but rather that it seems like there was something rushed in the episodes leading up to this. After the war going on and on seemingly indefinitely throughout the show, with our heroes just able to hold their own, suddenly the Breen appear and turn the tides against the Allies, but shortly after that the heroes turn around and start doing better than ever, despite the presence of the Breen. Maybe the Breen are actually a rather weak military power and became largely insignificant after the special energy damping weapon was nullified? But as early as episode 5 of this very season a big point was made that the power of the Dominion was so overwhelming that their victory was inevitable, and that was before the Breen joined the war. Suddenly, after the Breen are neutralized, the Dominion are outright losing and forced to retreat. What happened? There were a few little things that helped the Federation Alliance, like the Cardassian rebels and the Changeling disease interfering with shapeshifting, but none of it seemed to clearly explain the incredible turnaround. Feels like there were some episodes missing from the middle of the season to explain this.

    It is nice that they had the time to wrap up the pah-wraiths storyline, rather than just leave it hanging, but boy did it feel rushed. All that elaborate build up for multiple episodes only to suddenly end without very much happening. Also, I am really starting to agree with some of the other commentators that the religious mysticism is getting out of hand. Originally the idea was that the Prophets really were super powerful wormhole aliens living outside of linear time, and the religious aspects were created by the Bajorans, and by the way that contacting the prophets feels like a religious experience due to the weird and confusing effects of primitive humanoid brains trying to communicate with beings on another plane of existence. Part of what made them interesting was that every experience with them could either be looked at through a religious Bajoran viewpoint, or through a scientific Federation viewpoint. But the Pah-Wraiths just seemed to be inserted from a fantasy novel – reading spells from a mystic tome to unleash the demons from their mystic prison, hand to hand combat between the chosen ones with the fate of good versus evil hanging in the balance. What’s up with that? It just seems out of place.

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