(written from a Production point of view)
The Breen ally with the Dominion and attack Earth, the Federation Alliance loses its foothold in Cardassian space, Legate Damar organizes a rebellion, and Kai Winn begins to read forbidden texts about the Pah-wraiths. (Part 4 of 9)
Worf and Ezri Dax return to Deep Space 9 after their imprisonment by the Breen and Dominion. At the airlock, they are greeted by Miles O'Brien and Julian Bashir, who express their happiness that Worf and Dax are safe. Captain Sisko arrives, and is willing to overlook Dax disobeying orders and losing the runabout USS Gander as he'd like to know as much as possible about the Dominion's new alliance with the Breen, just as Kira notifies Sisko of a priority one message from Starfleet: the Breen have attacked Starfleet Headquarters in San Francisco, California, Earth.
In Sisko's office, Martok comments on the bold attack, something even the Klingons never attempted. Sisko tells Martok that Starfleet's intelligence reports on the Breen are "sketchy" at best. He continues to say that every species has a weakness. Sisko states that they better find the Breen's soon.
The relationship between Damar and Weyoun is deteriorating, with Damar feeling that the Dominion is squeezing too much out of the Cardassians. He stays cordial in his presence, but when Weyoun leaves he warns the Breen that they may one day meet the same fate, once the Dominion has no further need of them.
Sisko solemnly returns to his quarters to find his wife Kasidy trying (but failing miserably) to cook dinner; she has ruined his prized bell peppers, which took Sisko three months to grow. With the war turning for the worse because of the Breen, Sisko asks Kasidy to cut back on her freighter-captaining duties; she declines.
On Bajor, Kai Winn Adami withdraws from her regular schedule, cancelling an appearance before the Vedek Assembly and asking her aide Solbor to send condolences to the Vedeks. Dukat, still masquerading as Anjohl Tennan, continues to exert pressure on the Kai, who is frustrated she has to still pretend she follows the Prophets when she hasn't heard from the Pah-wraiths, yet. Dukat tells her it will happen when they release them from the Fire Caves. She objects, citing the prophesies she has known all her life, but Dukat responds with a slightly different interpretation, one that brings about a new Bajor with her as its anointed leader. She perks up at this. In order to do this, they need to consult the forbidden book, the Book of the Kosst Amojan, as well as other religious volumes. She hesitates, as it is known to contain evil, but also states she isn't afraid.
While O'Brien and Bashir work on strategies for their Alamo holosuite program in Quark's, after a long day of work, Worf and Dax look on from high above in the Promenade. Worf questions his newly-found friend Dax about her feelings, especially regarding Bashir. Worf is much more cordial, and even agrees when she supposes she should tell Bashir about her feelings.
Weyoun notices a change in Damar, namely that he has stopped his heavy drinking of kanar. Weyoun mistakenly believes Damar's sobriety is because of a resurgent optimism about the war; Damar plays along.
When Solbor delivers the Kosst Amojan to the Kai, he warns her about reading its forbidden passages, "He who studies evil is studied by evil." He also begins to openly question Dukat, mentioning his mysterious origins on Deep Space 9. The Kai rebukes Solbor, however, and he retreats – for the moment – to allow the Kai access to the book. After the Kai questions the virtue of what she is doing, Dukat manages to convince her that the Pah-Wraiths are not evil, but they have power and are willing to share it with Winn. Finally, she opens the book. The book, to the shock of Dukat and the Kai, appears totally empty, without writing of any kind on its pages. It seems that they need something else to access the words written within the book.
Sisko comes to Odo's office where he receives the new security protocols. Neither are sure whether they are enough. Kasidy barges in, angry because Sisko used his influence with the Bajorans as the Emissary to change Kasidy's schedule, a month of paid vacation.
Meanwhile, Kai Winn studies several texts to understand how to access the Kosst Amojan's words. She has Solbor deliver more "dark texts," and he again questions her motives. Others are asking as well. She responds coldly and simply that, as Kai, she is doing this for the good of Bajor. Winn is on edge, and also demands that Dukat leave, under protest, since he's not doing anything but distracting her.
Sisko brings flowers to his wife and tells her she's back on the active list. They reconcile, only to hear more bad news, this time from Admiral Ross, who says that the Breen have broken through the Federation lines at Chin'toka, which is the only Federation foothold in Dominion space. "When do I leave?", Sisko asks the admiral.
Sisko, Kira, Worf, Dax, O'Brien, Bashir, and Nog all prepare the USS Defiant for battle, and head off to join a huge Starfleet strike-force. The attitude of the bridge crew is noticeably more somber than in previous battles.
When Solbor tries to remove the books back to the Archive, he is confronted and punched by Dukat, who takes the books back to the Kai. She's fallen asleep, so he wakes her to keep going. He gets her some food, and she responds she's glad he's there.
On Cardassia, Damar and Rusot are contemplating on the reports that the Dominion is likely to take back Chin'toka. Then they state that the Dominion's victories are no longer their victories and they continue on to discuss their upcoming treachery. Damar states that at least they will be dying for Cardassia, not the Dominion.
Arriving at Chin'toka, the crew prepare to battle the Dominion and Breen ships. The Defiant is able to destroy a couple of Breen ships, but one fires an unusual weapon, which upon hitting the Defiant causes the entire ship to start crackling with blue energy. The crew are concerned as the energy courses through the bridge, and the concern is well-founded as it disables every system it touches. Suddenly the Defiant starts losing all of its power very quickly. The Defiant then starts to be continually struck by enemy weapons, and cannot return fire, raise shields or move, causing serious damage. Chief O'Brien is unable to diagnose the trouble, and explosions pepper the bridge, injuring Kira and several other crew members. The air begins to become toxic, the ablative armor starts to fail and multiple hull breaches (which cannot be sealed by force fields due to the loss of power) begin to litter the ship. Realizing that both the battle and the Defiant are lost, the captain orders the crew to abandon ship. Bashir carries an unconscious Kira to the escape pods, along with the rest of the crew. Before heading to an escape pod, Captain Sisko stops at the door to look back at the burning bridge of his ship for one last time. Chief O'Brien returns, and Sisko comments "She was a fine ship."; the chief won't argue with that, but reminds the captain they have to leave. The escape pods flee the ship just before the Defiant is destroyed by enemy fire.
Aboard their attack ship, Weyoun announces that the Chin'toka system is once again in Dominion hands and states that the Breen will be pleased to hear the Founder's compliments. However, she states she cares little for what the Breen think as long as they fight and win. The Female Changeling orders that the escape pods not be destroyed, so the survivors will return to Federation space with a frightening, demoralizing outlook, spreading fear about the invincibility of the Dominion (with the Breen at their side).
Suspicious of "Tennan", Solbor checks on his background, only to learn that the real Tennan has been dead for nine years. Solbor comes back and confronts Winn and Dukat, telling them when he sampled Dukat's DNA, he discovers Dukat's true identity. Winn begins to back away from Dukat, but she still refuses to believe that the Pah-wraiths are false prophets. Solbor tells the Kai she is betraying the Prophets to the Pah-wraiths, and he threatens to expose the Kai, who lunges toward him with a knife; Solbor is stabbed to death in the back. She tells Dukat to get away from her, and that the Pah-wraiths sent him to destroy her, which Dukat dismisses as a lie.
Winn goes to the book of the Kosst Amojan to destroy it. Some of Solbor's blood (on the knife used by the Kai to kill him) drips onto the sacred pages of the book of the Kosst Amojan; a flame briefly appears on the book, after which its text is now plainly visible. Dukat tells her to use this gift from the Pah-wraiths. With the murder, the Kai is now fully committed to continue down the path of serving the Pah-wraiths, regardless of the previous dictates of her conscience; Dukat arranges to remove Solbor's dead body.
Aboard Deep Space 9, Sisko and Admiral Ross commiserate the loss of the Defiant, Sisko calling it the best ship he ever commanded. It may take a while, but Ross promises to provide Sisko with another ship eventually, but first they need to buy some time in order to work out a countermeasure to the Breen weapon. Ross grimly says that time is the one thing they do not have: if the Dominion launches another offensive soon, they will be unable to halt it.
Kira interrupts, calling them to hear a message being broadcast by Damar across the galaxy: he recites that Cardassia has loyally fought for the Dominion for two years, losing seven million soldiers in the process, and in return, the Dominion has ceded their territories to the Breen and usurped control of their homeworld. "Our 'allies' have conquered us without firing a single shot!" Damar declares rebellion, stating that his men have just attacked and destroyed a Dominion cloning facility on Rondac III, and calling on all Cardassians to rise up against the Dominion.
At Dominion Headquarters, Weyoun confirms that their cloning facility was destroyed and worries he may be the last Weyoun clone. On Deep Space 9, the attack on Rondac is confirmed and Ross states that Damar has bought the Federation Alliance some precious time, however it is imperative that the Dominion don't track him down too quickly. Sisko responds that they need to find a way to help Damar, as he may be the key to saving the Alpha Quadrant from the Dominion.
"…And so two years ago, our government signed a treaty with the Dominion. In it the Dominion promised to extend Cardassia's influence throughout the Alpha Quadrant. In exchange, we pledged ourselves to join the war against the Federation and its allies. Cardassians have never been afraid of war, a fact we've proven time and again over these past two years. Seven million of our brave soldiers have given their lives to fulfill our part of the agreement, and what has the Dominion done in return? Nothing. We've gained no new territories. In fact, our influence throughout the quadrant has diminished. And to make matters worse, we are no longer masters in our own home. Travel anywhere on Cardassia and what do you find? Jem'Hadar, Vorta, and now Breen. Instead of the invaders, we have become the invaded. Our 'allies' have conquered us without firing a single shot. Well, no longer. This morning detachments of the Cardassian First, Third and Ninth Orders attacked the Dominion outpost on Rondac III. This assault marks the first step towards the liberation of our homeland, from the true oppressors of the Alpha Quadrant. I call upon Cardassians everywhere. Resist. Resist today. Resist tomorrow. Resist till the last Dominion soldier has been driven from our soil!"
- - Damar's declaration of Rebellion
"We must give the enemy credit. To launch an attack against Starfleet Headquarters. Even my people never attempted that."
- - Martok to Sisko, on the Breen
"It doesn't seem right, all this plotting and secrecy. What are we? Romulans?"
"No, we're Cardassians. But right now, Cardassia is an occupied territory. And to defeat an occupying army takes careful planning and secrecy."
- - Rusot and Damar
"I remember the day I heard the news that Cardassia had joined the Dominion. Like everyone else, I rejoiced. We were going to be rulers of the entire Alpha Quadrant. Instead, we're a conquered people, servants in our own land."
"All that will soon end."
- - Rusot and Damar
"They expected the war to be over long ago. It's not. For that, they blame us. Now, if the war isn't ended soon, they'll shift the blame to you."
- - Damar to Thot Gor
"Win or lose, I wouldn't turn my back on Weyoun if I were you."
- - Damar to Thot Gor
"There. You see? The Pah-wraiths have judged you and found you worthy. Their secrets are now your secrets to do with as you please. Take their gift and use it. Seize the power they're offering you!"
- - Dukat to Winn, about the Book of the Kosst Amojan
"He doesn't understand, Adami! He couldn't possibly understand the love of the Pah-wraiths!"
"The love of the Pah-wraiths?! You're trying to release them! That's why you wanted the text of the Kosst Amojan."
- - Dukat and Solbor
"You're a good friend, Worf."
- - Ezri Dax and Worf
"I could be the last Weyoun."
- - Weyoun
"There's something different about you today Damar, I can't quite put my finger on it… it's almost as if you're half dressed…"
"What are you talking about?"
"You don't have a bottle in your hand."
- - Weyoun and Damar
"Kira to Sisko."
"We just received a priority one transmission from Starfleet Command. The Breen have attacked Earth."
- - Kira Nerys and Benjamin Sisko
"She's a fine ship."
- - Benjamin Sisko, on the doomed Defiant
"Poor Captain Sisko. I believe he was quite fond of that ship."
- - Weyoun
"I have no idea what would please the Breen, nor do I care! All that matters is that they fight and win!"
- - Female Changeling
"Eminence, that man is not Anjohl Tennan!"
"What are you talking about?"
"Anjohl Tennan died nine years ago in the labor camp at Batal. I warned you not to trust him. I had a sample of his DNA sequenced. He's not even a Bajoran. He's a Cardassian!"
- - Solbor and Winn, referring to Dukat
"Don't listen to him! Look at him! Don't you recognize the face of your enemy? It's Gul Dukat."
- - Solbor
"Legate Damar may be the key to saving the entire Alpha Quadrant."
- - Benjamin Sisko
The Final Chapter
- The first four episodes of The Final Chapter ("Penumbra", "'Til Death Do Us Part", "Strange Bedfellows" and "The Changing Face of Evil") had all been written concurrently, and as such, this episode represented the finale of the first 'block' of the arc. This is evidenced in the episode itself insofar as the story reaches a number of critical junctures, and serves to introduce several new plotlines. As René Echevarria explains, "It was the culmination of the first four episodes. Damar launches his Rebellion, Winn is completely on board with Dukat, Ezri and Worf have decided not to be together, and Sisko and Yates are together." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
"The Changing Face of Evil"
- The first draft script of this episode was issued on 26 January 1999. The final draft of the script was issued on 3 February 1999. 
- This episode features the Second Battle of Chin'toka, which sees the Federation Alliance defeated by the combined forces of the Dominion and the Breen Confederacy, and thus Starfleet's loss of the Chin'toka system, which they had won from the Dominion in the sixth season finale "Tears of the Prophets". Presumably, at some stage during or after the battle, AR-558 is either evacuated or taken by force.
- Ira Steven Behr was a big fan of how this episode mixes the larger War stories with the trivial domestic stories; "We liked the idea of showing the domestic life. In the midst of all the pressures that Sisko is under, he still has issues at home. He's still a Human being. Kasidy burns his peppers. That hurts! Life is hard, but you should not have to have your peppers burned!" (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- Of the ongoing Winn and Dukat plot in this episode, Behr comments, "She experiences self-loathing and loss, and you wonder, 'Okay, does she get it now?' No, she doesn't. As soon as Dukat explains to her that she can cover the murder up, it's clear that she's the only thing she's worried about. But when the smoke clears, she's still less tainted than Dukat. Dukat is still the master, the manipulator, the liar. They're quite a team." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- In keeping with the redefinition of the character of Damar that was taking place, the character of Gul Rusot was created specifically to help sell the idea that Damar could handle the volatile situation he was getting himself into. As Behr explains, "We needed someone who would highlight Damar's strength, by putting Damar in a position where he'd have to hold this tiger by the tail and keep him in line." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- This episode marks the destruction of the USS Defiant. The decision to destroy the Defiant was not one that was taken lightly. As Behr explains, "The ship had become a character that had caught on in people's hearts and minds." The producers however felt that something was needed to give the Breen an impactful introduction, and it was agreed that nothing could achieve this quite as well as the destruction of the Defiant. As Behr says, "We wanted to kill the Defiant as a statement on how tough the Breen were. We thought that would rock the characters and the audience." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion) This is similar to why the writers destroyed the Galaxy-class USS Odyssey in the Second season finale "The Jem'Hadar" – to instantly communicate to viewers how dangerous the Jem'Hadar were.
- O'Brien finds the figurine of William B. Travis lost in this episode by Bashir in the series finale "What You Leave Behind".
- This is the final episode of the series to have music composed by Jay Chattaway. It was recorded on 12 April 1999 at the Sony Pictures Scoring Stage. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Collection liner notes). Two cues from the score, totalling 11 minutes 14 seconds, appears on Disc Two of the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Collection. Chattaway can be heard thanking the orchestra as part of the second cue, taken directly from this recording session.
- Cirroc Lofton (Jake Sisko) does not appear in this episode.
- A script for this episode was sold off on the It's A Wrap! sale and auction on eBay. 
- Remastered footage from the episode is featured in the documentary What We Left Behind.
Video and DVD releases
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 7.10, catalog number VHR 4820, 4 October 1999
- As part of the DS9 Season 7 DVD collection
Links and references
- Rene Auberjonois as Odo
- Nicole de Boer as Counselor Ezri Dax
- Michael Dorn as Lieutenant Commander Worf
- Colm Meaney as Chief Miles O'Brien
- Armin Shimerman as Quark
- Alexander Siddig as Doctor Julian Bashir
- Nana Visitor as Colonel Kira Nerys
- Jeffrey Combs as Weyoun
- Penny Johnson as Kasidy Yates
- Marc Alaimo as Gul Dukat/Anjohl Tennan
- Casey Biggs as Damar
- J.G. Hertzler as Martok
- Aron Eisenberg as Nog
- Barry Jenner as Admiral Ross
- James Otis as Solbor
- John Vickery as Rusot
Special guest star
- Cathy DeBuono as M'Pella
- Brian Demonbreun as a Human science division officer
- Dennis Madalone as an Human operations division officer
- Dan Magee as operations officer
- Chuck Shanks as an Human operations division officer
- Todd Slayton as Gor
- Unknown performers as Thot Gor's aides
ablative armor; advisor; Alamo; Alpha Quadrant; antimatter injector; archivist; assault fleet; attack wing; Battle of the Alamo; Bajor; Bajorans; Bajoran Archives; Bajoran archivists; Bajoran Freight and Shipping Authority; Bajoran prophecy; battle report; bell peppers; Book of the Kosst Amojan; Breen; Breen (homeworld); Breen attack on Earth; Calash Monastery; Cardassia; Cardassians; Cardassian space; Chin'toka system (aka Chin'toka); climate; constable; DNA; Dahkur citizens; Dahkur Province; Dahkur Province city; dilithium matrix; Dominion; Dominion War; Earth; Eminence; Emissary of the Prophets; Federation; field stabilizer; Fire Caves; fire-suppression system; First Order; Founders; Golden Gate Bridge; heart; impulse manifold; Kai; kanar; Kosst Amojan; manual extinguisher; microfusion generator; moat; model; nadion emitter; Ninth Order; "Old Man"; Pah-wraiths; path; plasma coolant; pre-warp threshold; Prophets; Quark's; quantum torpedo launcher; refrigeration suit; Restoration of Bajor; Romulan; Rondac III; saying; Second Battle of Chin'toka; second-class citizen; squadron; Starfleet Command; Starfleet Headquarters; task force; tongs; toy; Third Order; traitor; Travis, William; Vedek Assembly; volume; Vorta
Akira-class (starships); Breen warship; D'deridex-class (warbirds); Excelsior-class (starships); Federation attack fighter (Unnamed Federation attack fighters); Galor-class (warships); Jem'Hadar fighter; Jem'Hadar battle cruiser; K't'inga-class (warships); Klingon Bird-of-Prey (warships); Miranda-class (starships); Nebula-class (starship); Steamrunner-class (starships); runabout; Saber-class (starships); Type 6 shuttlecraft (Honshu shuttlecraft, unnamed); Vor'cha-class (warships)
- "The Changing Face of Evil" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "The Changing Face of Evil" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "The Changing Face of Evil" at Wikipedia
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