(written from a Production point of view)
Tired of being on the losing end of the war, Captain Sisko convinces Starfleet Command to launch a fleet of starships to retake Deep Space 9. Meanwhile, time may be running out for Rom.
Somewhere in space, the USS Defiant is venting plasma. Her weapons are off-line and her shields are at 30%. Two Jem'Hadar fighter ships approach and attack. A Klingon Bird-of-Prey decloaks and destroys one of the Jem'Hadar ships. The Defiant brings its weapons online and destroys the other. The Klingon ship is the IKS Rotarran. The Rotarran and the Defiant have been playing this game for a while. Just then they receive new orders from Starfleet to fall back. The crew complains that it seems that all they've been doing lately is retreating. According to Chief Miles O'Brien, engage, retreat, engage, retreat is becoming the Federation's favorite tune. Julian Bashir adds on that they might end up singing "Hail the Conquering Dominion". Lieutenant Commander Jadzia Dax, captaining the Defiant, and her fiance, Lieutenant Commander Worf, captaining the Rotarran, agree to meet at Starbase 375.
Once there Dax, echoing her crew's sentiments, confronts Captain Benjamin Sisko about Starfleet's strategy in his office, which has left morale so low that even the Klingons have begun to doubt the certainty of victory. When Sisko tells Dax that he's in complete agreement, she forcefully tells him to do something about it, at which point he already has and reveals his plan to retake Deep Space 9.
The next day, Sisko describes his plan to Admirals Sitak and Cobum. Elements from the Second, Fifth, and Ninth Fleets will be peeled off the front lines and sent to retake Deep Space 9. Admiral Sitak tells Sisko that the Dominion will send a large fleet to stop them, but Sisko counters that it will slow their advance into Federation territory. Admiral Cobum objects that the plan leaves Earth extremely vulnerable. Admiral William Ross responds that the Third Fleet will still be there to protect Earth. Cobum still isn't convinced, but Sisko states confidently that the Dominion will not attack Earth because Earth isn't the key to the Alpha Quadrant; the wormhole is. And whoever controls Deep Space 9 controls the wormhole.
On Terok Nor, the Dominion/Cardassian name for Deep Space 9, Quark and Major Kira Nerys attempt to see Odo about releasing Rom from his Dominion holding cell. But Odo's quarters are guarded by Bajoran and Jem'Hadar security, and Odo won't see anyone. The Bajoran informs them that Odo has been with the Female Changeling for three days. Quark starts a fight with the Jem'Hadar guard and Major Kira breaks it up. The Bajoran deputy tells them it would be best if they left and promises to tell Odo they were there.
Inside, the Female Changeling and Odo sit back to back, fully clothed on the opposite sides of an only slightly rumpled bed. They are discussing sex in the manner of solids. The Female Changeling thanks Odo for giving her new insight, observing that the solids' version of intimacy pales in comparison to the Changelings' linking. They discuss Odo's previous experiences with sex. The Female Changeling guesses that Odo regrets not having had it with Kira. But Odo doesn't want to talk about Kira. He says that he has a Ruling Council meeting to attend. The Female Changeling says that that meeting took place three days ago. Odo is shocked at the passage of time. The Female Changeling tells him not to worry anymore about solids' meetings and schedules: "we're Changelings; we're timeless". They link.
Kira next goes to see Weyoun about Rom. He's in the wardroom examining a gift given to him by Gul Dukat: a prize-winning painting on Cardassia by Dukat's daughter Tora Ziyal. But as the Founders made the Vorta without a sense of aesthetics, Weyoun cannot appreciate it and insists on asking Kira if it is "any good." Then, Weyoun tells Kira that the Dominion is planning to execute Rom on charges of terrorism for attempting to sabotage the Dominion's move to bring down the minefield. He also notes that Rom is the "diabolical genius" who came up with the self-replicating mines in the first place. Seeing that Weyoun won't be of any help, Kira threatens to involve the Bajoran government since Rom is married to a Bajoran citizen, but Weyoun is not impressed. He does, though, say he won't consider her to be a co-conspirator.
Rom, his wife Leeta, and his brother Quark discuss Rom's future, or lack of one, from his Dominion holding cell. After Rom shoots down the possibility that the Bajoran government can arrange his release, or that Grand Nagus Zek can buy his freedom from the Dominion, Quark pledges to do whatever it takes to get him out. But Rom is much more interested in having Quark take out the anti-graviton beam, to finish what Rom started. Quark protests at first, because he doesn't want to die, but he knows that he has no choice. As Rom tells him, the fate of the entire Alpha Quadrant is now in Quark's hands.
Kira next appeals to Ziyal to speak to her father Dukat about Rom. Ziyal goes to Dukat, but he says he can't do anything. Ziyal appeals to his vanity; this is Dukat's opportunity to show the people of Bajor, especially Major Kira what a forgiving, compassionate, great man he is. Dukat briefly suspects that Ziyal was involved in the attempted sabotage. Ziyal says that if Dukat truly regrets the Cardassian occupation of Bajor, then this is his chance to prove it to everyone, including her. He again refuses, as Rom is now an enemy of the state, and Ziyal, angry, says that Dukat is a true Cardassian. She storms out.
In Quark's, Kira and Quark finish a discussion about a possible scheme to free Rom. Quark suggests bringing Nausicaans aboard the station, breaking his brother out of his holding cell, and making a fast getaway. Kira quickly shoots down that idea, telling Quark freeing Rom is going to take precise planning and that things could get out of control with Nausicaans. "Think I can get my money back?" Quark asks. At the bar, Damar is feeling quite pleased with himself. Finding Kira at the bar, he orders her to prepare to receive a freighter and takes her seat. As she reluctantly leaves, he objects to her attitude. Kira responds he's welcome to try and change it. Damar later tells Quark that his field tests on the anti-graviton beam were successful and deactivation of the mines has already begun. Quark asks how long it'll take, and is horrified to find out that the minefield will be ready to be destroyed within the week.
On Starbase 375, General Martok tells Sisko and Admiral Ross that Klingon Chancellor Gowron doesn't like Sisko's plan. Gowron is concerned that it will leave the Klingon Empire exposed to Dominion attack. Martok and Worf agree to see Gowron in person to convince him that the plan is worth it. As Martok says, if Gowron's most trusted ally and his worst enemy tell him the same thing, he will have no choice but to agree.
Quark tells Kira about Damar's estimate that the minefield will be down in a week, and suggests letting Odo know in case he can help. Kira reminds him they can't get to Odo, and feels certain he wouldn't help even if he were asked. Therefore they have to find a way to warn Starfleet, however no-one has a clue on how to actually do that. Jake then arrives and tells the two that he's able to get a message out to his father thanks to a courier, Morn, who is going away for his mother's birthday (the message being hidden on a ribbon that is used to tie her present).
Sisko receives the message, letting him and Admiral Ross know the minefield will be down in three days – one day less than it will take for the Ninth Fleet and the Klingons to arrive and join Sisko's task force. Sisko says they have no choice but to launch the operation immediately – even if not enough ships survive to re-take the station, they have a slender hope of destroying the graviton emitter and keeping the minefield intact. After a moment's pause, Ross agrees, knowing that if the Dominion's reinforcements are allowed to come through the wormhole, then all is lost.
In the wardroom, Dukat and Weyoun observe the slow, but steady deactivation of the mines. As the graviton beam strikes a mine, a brief flash is visible as its replication unit fails. Weyoun comments that he is unable to see them, as the Vorta have very poor eyesight, but is assured by Dukat that he will most certainly see the final destruction of the minefield. Damar enters with the latest movement of the Federation Fleet: the Second and Fifth Fleets have disengaged from the Kotanka system and Vulcan border respectively and have converged at Starbase 375. But they don't know what the Federation is up to. Weyoun demands an answer to this and leaves. Dukat then asks Damar to talk to Ziyal to convince her to talk to Dukat again. Damar, looking uncomfortable, tries to back out, but Dukat says that it is important to him, so Damar agrees. In a cargo bay, Damar confronts Ziyal, who is speaking with Kira. Damar tries to convince her to come with him, to no avail. He explains that Dukat knows their alliance with the Dominion is a dangerous one and thus cannot afford to show weakness. When she still refuses, he grabs her. Kira objects and knocks Damar unconscious. Ziyal is shocked.
On Starbase 375, Ross stops by Sisko's office to see him off and wish him good luck. Sisko is reviewing ancient Bajoran texts and the two start to discuss Bajor. When Ross comments that he hears that it's "nice", Sisko tells him that hardly describes Bajor's beauty and talks eloquently about some of the planet's natural wonders. Ross assures Sisko that he's convinced and notes that the captain will have a hard time saying goodbye when his mission ends and Bajor is welcomed into the Federation. Sisko responds that he has no intention of saying goodbye, as he intends to build a house on Bajor. Although he will always go to wherever Starfleet assigns him, Bajor is where he'll return to when it's time to go home.
Back on Terok Nor, Dukat tells Weyoun that the Federation fleet is on the move and headed towards the station. Weyoun isn't concerned, as he's sure the Dominion will crush them. They arrange to have ships taken off the front lines and repositioned at Terok Nor; once the wormhole is reopened, there will be more than enough ships to take their place. Damar enters, with his face bruised, demanding that Major Kira be arrested for assault. He tries to explain what happened with Ziyal to Dukat, but Weyoun overhears their conversation (the Vorta's poor eyesight is compensated by excellent hearing), chiming in that family squabbles can wait until the enemy has been crushed. He reminds Dukat of their immediate priorities, and is told that enough ships will be redeployed to halt the Federation fleet. Weyoun leaves to inform the Female Changeling. While Damar is shocked that the Federation is making a move against them, Dukat demands to know exactly what happened between him and Kira.
Elsewhere on the station, Odo and the Female Changeling are observing the solids from the upper deck of the Promenade. Odo pities the limits of the solids, but the Female Changeling states that the Founders must guide the solids, not pity them. The Female Changeling says that the solids must be broken of their love for freedom for their own good. Odo is taken aback. His eyes are beginning to open again to what the Founders really are. He leaves as Weyoun interrupts. Odo spots Kira and chases her down. He tries to explain that he's been "occupied." Kira says she knows; while he's been occupied, the minefield's coming down, the Federation is about to lose the war, and Rom has been sentenced to death. He tries to apologize, but Kira won't have it. She says "we are way, way past 'sorry'."
The Federation task force, en route to DS9, detects 1,254 Dominion ships ahead. The Federation is outnumbered two to one. On the Defiant's bridge, everyone is quiet. Sisko breaks the silence by activating the comm-system and ordering the fleet into Delta-Two Attack Formation. He says there's an old saying: "Fortune favors the bold". They're about to find out if that's true.
"Can you believe it? They made me an ensign."
"I didn't realize that things were going so bad."
"Scary, isn't it?"
- - Nog and O'Brien discussing the sad state of the Federation
"I don't know what all you brass hats in Starfleet Command are thinking, but take it from a simple field officer – we're not going to win this war by running away from the enemy."
"I know that."
"Benjamin, troop morale is at an all-time low. Even the Klingons are starting to wonder if we can defeat the Dominion. We need a victory – a big victory – and we need it soon."
"I couldn't agree with you more."
"Then do something about it!"
"I already have. In fact, I'm presenting a plan to Starfleet Command at 0800 tomorrow."
"We're going to retake Deep Space 9."
- - Dax and Sisko
"What if you're wrong, and the Dominion doesn't commit its forces to protect Deep Space 9? What if instead they launch a full-scale assault on Earth? If we follow the plan you're proposing, we'll never be able to get reinforcements there in time!"
"The Dominion won't attack Earth."
"How can you be sure?"
"Because Earth isn't the key to the Alpha Quadrant; the wormhole is – and whoever controls Deep Space 9 controls the wormhole."
- - Admiral Cobum, Sisko', and Admiral Sitak
"It should be obvious, even to you, Damar, that I am not a true daughter of Cardassia!"
"What's obvious to me is that your father should've left you to rot in that Breen prison camp. But he didn't. He took pity on you, and it's your duty to repay him. Now come with me!"
"Let her go!"
"And if I don't? What happens then?"
"I was hoping you'd ask!"
- - Ziyal, Damar, and Kira (who proceeds to knock Damar out)
"Don't you think resolving family squabbles can wait until after we've won the war?"
(Dukat and Damar look at him in disbelief.)
"Weak eyes, good ears."
- - Weyoun, after hearing Dukat and Damar's conversation
"One week… and the Alpha Quadrant is ours!"
- - Damar
"What if I get caught?"
"Then we'll die together, brother."
- - Quark and Rom, on having Quark stopping the deactivation of the minefield.
"Would this be more aesthetically pleasing if it were blue?"
- - Weyoun
"I don't want you to try to save me.'"
"What are you talking about?! They must have done something to his mind!"
- - Rom, Leeta, and Quark
"General… perhaps you should return to Qo'noS and make your plea in person. The chancellor has great respect for you – if you cannot convince him, no one can."
"I will go to see Gowron… and you will come with me!"
"No – the chancellor no longer considers me a friend."
"I know. But what could be better? An ally and an enemy both telling him the same thing; he'll have no other choice but to agree!"
- - Worf and Martok
"If those Dominion reinforcements come through the wormhole we will have lost everything."
"Then we take the ships we have, fight our way to Deep Space 9 and destroy the anti-graviton emitter. It's our only hope."
- - Ross and Sisko
"I must say, you're doing a wonderful job with Odo.'"
"Meaning that he's always posed a potential threat to our plans, but you seem to have neutralized him quite nicely."
"Neutralize Odo?! Is that why you think I'm here?! Odo is a Changeling – bringing him home, returning him to the Great Link means more to us than the Alpha Quadrant itself. Is that clear?"
- - Weyoun and the Female Changeling
"Rom is an enemy of the state and enemies of the state do not deserve mercy."
"Spoken like a true Cardassian."
"I am a Cardassian! And so are you."
"No, I'm not!! I could never be like you!"
- - Dukat and Ziyal
"You're sorry?! That's what you wanted to tell me? You're sorry?! Well, let me tell you something, Odo. We are way, way past 'sorry'."
- - Kira to Odo
"I always hope for the best. Experience, unfortunately, has taught me to expect the worst."
- - Garak
"There's an old saying: Fortune favors the bold. Well, I guess we're about to find out."
- - Sisko, on Operation Return (last line of the episode)
The six-episode arc
- When the multi-episode arc was originally conceived, it was four episodes long, but once the writers started to develop ideas and decide where specific plot points needed to go and how things needed to develop, Ira Steven Behr changed it to a five-episode arc. For a considerable amount of time it remained a five-episode narrative, even getting to the stage where titles were being assigned. At that point, "Favor the Bold" was the final episode, and encompassed the final space battle, the rebellion on Deep Space 9 and the Federation's re-acquisition of the station. After Behr and co-writer Hans Beimler began to run into trouble trying to fit everything into forty-four minutes however, Behr realized that one episode simply could not contain all that was needed to finish off such a large narrative arc. As such, he and Beimler basically split the last episode into two, and began to fill it out, thus creating a mini two-parter to conclude the overall six-parter. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
"Favor the Bold"
- The title of this episode is a paraphrase of a line from the narrative poem The Aeneid, written by Virgil in Ancient Rome. The poem is a 'sequel' to Iliad by Homer and it describes how the wanderings of the Trojan soldier Aeneas bring him to Italy, and ultimately to lay the foundations of Rome itself. The actual quote, as spoken by Sisko in the episode, is "Fortune favors the bold" ("audentes fortuna iuvat") and is found in Book 10, line 284 of the poem.
- The phrase would show up again in Star Trek: Enterprise as the motto of the Columbia NX-02, Earth's second Warp 5 vessel, captained by Erika Hernandez.
- Sisko's Yoruba mask, introduced in "The Search, Part I", is seen hanging on a wall in his office during his briefing with Admirals Sitak and Cobum.
- James T. Kirk utters a similar line in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, "May fortune favor the foolish," before launching the HMS Bounty on a time warp; in the novelization, Spock catches the reference shortly before the ship's warp drive is engaged.
- This episode began life as based on the 1961 J. Lee Thompson film The Guns of Navarone, a film about a mission behind enemy lines to destroy a German weapons depot. Originally, the plot of the episode was to involve a covert mission to destroy a ketracel-white facility deep in Cardassian space. However, during the early stage of rewrites, that mission was relocated to "A Time to Stand", and "Favor the Bold" was reformulated.
- Admiral Cobum's character is similar to James Coburn's character in the film Midway, where his character tells Chester W. Nimitz not to go through with his plan of attack because it would leave Hawaii open to attack.
- Sisko's passionate speech to Admiral Ross about the beauties of Bajor indicates the first time that he has openly revealed his love for the planet. However, it is not the first time he has spoken passionately about Bajor. In the third season episode "The Search, Part I", Sisko vehemently declares that he will not allow Bajor to fall at the hands of the Dominion. Dax even comments in that episode that she hasn't seen him so passionate about anything since Jennifer died. His plan to live there however, represents a new stage in his affection for the planet. He would put his plan into action in the seventh season episode "Penumbra", where he designs a model for the house and purchases land in the Kendra Province on which to begin building.
- The above scene was added "at the last minute" when the episode was running short. Ronald D. Moore stated: "Sisko's desire to build a home on Bajor was something we'd been talking about within the writing staff for quite some time." (AOL chat, 1997)
- In this episode, Nog is promoted to Ensign.
- Supposedly, the USS Antares. a Federation starship built by Adam Buckner, was filmed for this episode. This ship was positioned in the background in shots of Starbase 375. 
Video and DVD releases
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 6.3, 6 April 1998
- As part of the DS9 Season 6 DVD collection
Links and references
- Rene Auberjonois as Odo
- Michael Dorn as Lt. Commander Worf
- Terry Farrell as Lt. Commander Dax
- Cirroc Lofton as Jake Sisko
- Colm Meaney as Chief O'Brien
- Armin Shimerman as Quark
- Alexander Siddig as Doctor Bashir
- Nana Visitor as Major Kira
- Andrew J. Robinson as Garak
- Jeffrey Combs as Weyoun
- Marc Alaimo as Dukat
- Max Grodénchik as Rom
- Aron Eisenberg as Nog
- J.G. Hertzler as Martok
- Melanie Smith as Ziyal
- Casey Biggs as Damar
- Chase Masterson as Leeta
- Barry Jenner as Admiral Ross
- William Wellman, Jr. as a Bajoran security deputy
- Bart McCarthy as Admiral Cobum
- Ericka Klein as Admiral Sitak
- Andrew Palmer as Jem'Hadar Soldier
- Bill Blair (unknown role)
- Cathy DeBuono as M'Pella
- Brian Demonbreun as a Starfleet science officer
- David B. Levinson as Broik
- Mark Allen Shepherd as Morn
- James Lee Stanley as a Bajoran security deputy
- Unknown actors as
adjutant; ancient Bajoran texts; attack formation delta two; Bajor; Bajorans; Bajoran prophecy; Bajoran government; Bajoran wormhole; bearing; birthday; Breen; Cardassia; Cardassians; classmate; co-conspirator; collaborator; cooking; Council of Ministers; courier; Dakeen Monastery; Earth; Emissary of the Prophets; engineering; eyesight; Federation; Ferengi; field officer; field test; Fifth Fleet; "fortune favors the bold"; Gamma Quadrant; Gowron; Great Link; "Hail the Conquering Dominion"; holosuite; intimacy; jambalaya; kanar; kilometer; Klingons; Klingon Defense Force; Klingon Empire; latinum; loophole; lyric; medical tricorder; Morn's mother; Nausicaan; neural transponder; Ninth Fleet; Occupation of Bajor; Obsidian Order; poison; pond; present; prison camp; Promenade; Prophets; Quark's; R&R; raktajino; reporter; ribbon; saying; Second Fleet; Sisko, Joseph; Sisko's house; soldier; Starfleet Academy; Starfleet Intelligence; task force; thug; toast; valley; Vorta; Vulcan; Vulcan border; war; waterfall; wildflower
Antares, USS; Cortez, USS; Defiant-class; Defiant, USS; Excelsior-class (starships); Federation attack fighter; Galaxy-class (starships); Galor-class (warships 1 and 2); Hood, USS; Jem'Hadar attack ship; Jem'Hadar battle cruiser (Unnamed Jem'Hadar battle cruisers); Klingon Bird-of-Prey; Miranda-class (starships); Rotarran, IKS; Sarek, USS; Starbase 375 (Starbase 375-type); Steamrunner-class (starships)
- LCARS references
Academy flight trainer; Akira-class; Bajoran interceptor; battleship; D-7 battlecruiser; Defiant-class; Excelsior-class; Galor-class; Intrepid-class; Jem'Hadar attack ship; long range shuttle; Miranda-class; Nebula-class; Negh'Var warship; Norway-class; Orbital office complex; Relay Station 47; Romulan Warbird; Saber-class; T'Plana-Hath-type
- "Favor the Bold" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "Favor the Bold" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Favor the Bold" at Wikipedia
| Previous episode:|
"Behind the Lines"
| Star Trek: Deep Space Nine|
| Next episode:|
"Sacrifice of Angels"