The Way of the Warrior (Star Trek DS9 S4:E1)

Updated: Jul 23

The Way of the warrior is an example of exposition and ensemble serving each other perfectly. The opening scene shows Major Kira and Captain Sisko, going room to room sweeping for a Changing, establishing them as soldiers. At this point in the timeline, the Changeling Founders are poised as the main antagonists against our heroes. Major Kira says, "This changing knows the station better than anyone.” But luckily, our heroes have a Changeling of their own named Constable Odo, who is Chief of Security for Deep Space Nine.

The opening scenes serve two masters:

1) Show the competence of Captain Sisko and his team, while showing off the station.

2) Build up the threat the Founders pose against the Federation, while showing just how dangerous Odo is.

Star Trek has a tradition of non-human characters attempting to blend in with the humans. Data had an emotion chip installed. Spock learned how to balance his Vulcan and human sides, marrying both logic and emotion together. In DS9, the character of constable Odo starts not knowing where he came from, only that he was different. On the Promenade, Odo is having lunch with former spy and tailor Garak. He is drinking coffee but is actually building a cup out of his own matter and re-absorbing himself as he drinks from it, filling the cup along the way. This gives the illusion that he is sharing from the dining experience. While having lunch, Odo sees a local being harassed by Klingon Soldiers. Odo runs them off, but they find Garrack later and beat him up.

This causes Captain Sisko to say my second favorite line in the episode:

"The only people that can handle the Klingons are the Klingons."

Then he requests Worf from Star Trek: The Next Generation to transfer to Deep Space nine. He is thinking of resigning from Star Fleet since he cannot go back to the Enterprise after it was destroyed in Star Trek: Generations. This feels like the writer's way of acknowledging that Worf came from another show that was a cultural juggernaut, and how him being on DS9 will not be the same, no matter what the fans are looking for. Captain Sisko convinces him to stay, and they roll out on the USS Defiant to help evacuate Cardassian leaders while the Klingons head towards Cardassia Prime.

In a prime example of the ensemble enhancing exposition, there is a quiet scene at quarks bar between Quark and Garrack, where they talk about how the only hope for salvation the have is the Federation. Quark offers Garrack root beer, which they both hate.

"It's vile!" Garrack says.

Quark tells him "I know. It is so bubbly, and cloy, and happy. Just like the Federation. But you know what is really frightening? If you drink enough of it, you begin to like it."

"It's insidious!" Garrack tells him. "Just like the Federation."

Then he asks, "do you think they'll be able to save us?"

Later, after Sisko returns to the station and the Klingon fleet is surrounding it for a siege, Constable Odo is evacuating the civilians to emergency shelters. The funniest joke in the whole episode happens when Quark refuses to go to the shelter. Holding a box, he says "I'll defend my bar with the phaser in this box!"

Then Odo opens the box to find a letter from Quarks brother Rom that reads "Dear Quark, I used parts from your disrupter to fix the replicator. Will replace as soon as i can. Love Rom." Then quark says, "I will kill him." to which Odo replies "with what?"

After the Klingon fleet destroys DS9's shields, they start beaming in assault troops. An all-out brawl takes place, and after Sisko secures Ops, they get word that the Federation reinforcements are fifteen minutes out. Sisko calls Gowron and tells him "My shields are holding. Your boarding parties are contained, and my reinforcements are closer than yours. You are facing a war on two fronts, is that what you want?"

Then the Klingon fleet retreats, and the episode ends with Sisko bringing Worf his discharge papers. But then Sisko convinces Worf to stay, telling him, "The only way to get through the pain of loss is to stand your ground and face it."

Worf says, "But that uniform must remind you of what you have lost?"

Sisko tells him "It also reminds me what I've gained."

Like Captain Sisko, Worf gains balance when he's promoted to Commander, and Deep Space nine gains balance in its ensemble. The Way of the Warrior is 1990's Star Trek at its very peak.

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