(written from a Production point of view)
The Cardassian-Romulan fleet enters the Gamma Quadrant; Sisko goes against Starfleet orders to rescue Odo. (Part 2 of 2)
Dr. Bashir is eating lunch with Chief O'Brien in the Replimat while trying to begin the same kind of engaging and lively conversation that he typically would with Garak, who is still missing with Odo as they are investigating the bombing of Garak's tailor shop. Bashir quickly finds, however, that O'Brien prefers to spend his lunch eating rather than talking leaving the discussion very one-sided. Bashir misses his friend and O'Brien is confident their runabout, the USS Mekong has not been destroyed because debris from it hasn't been found.
O'Brien is called to Ops where tetryon emissions precede the decloaking of the Cardassian-Romulan fleet. The fleet ignores the station's hails and proceeds through the wormhole to the Gamma Quadrant. Sisko orders the station be put on red alert immediately and tells Dax to contact Starfleet Command.
On the lead ship of the Cardassian-Romulan fleet, Enabran Tain and Garak reflect upon their times together in the Obsidian Order. Garak says that he intends to "look up" a number of people once he returns to Cardassia Prime, including Gul Dukat. Tain feels that Garak will be able to "eliminate" anyone after the current mission is completed. Garak however feels uneasy when Tain insinuates that he's planning to have Mila eliminated, since he believes she knows too much about him. Garak casually suggests sparing her, but Tain knows that Garak is fond of the old housekeeper mentioning that Mila always believed Garak was innocent of the crime that got him exiled. Romulan Colonel Lovok enters and is introduced to Garak, of whom he is immediately suspicious. Lovok informs them that the fleet has recloaked and are setting course to the Founders' homeworld at warp 6 (any faster could make them detectable through their cloak by the Jem'Hadar). Tain tells Garak that his first assignment is to extract all information that is possible from Odo, who is being held in quarters surrounded by a force field and a guard is posted outside the door.
There, Garak uses his usual fake politeness on Odo, who is angered by the captivity he's suddenly found himself in. Garak has certainly taken to his new position quickly, as he asks Odo for information on the Founders. Odo refuses, and, instead, tells him that Tain remains both Odo's and Garak's enemy, even if it seems like Tain has been taken him back. They both tell each other that they should take the time to think about what's been said, with neither apparently backing down.
Back at DS9, the senior staff (along with Security Chief Michael Eddington) is shown an intercepted transmission in the wardroom in which Tain lays out his plans to destroy the Dominion. Vice Admiral Toddman explains that both the Romulan and Cardassian governments have denied any prior knowledge of the operation, and while they claim to be working on plans to stop Tain it is believed they are happy to just sit back and wait since the plan has a very real chance of succeeding. Starfleet is also (unofficially) in support of Tain, as Toddman explains that while he certainly isn't hoping for war, but should there be one, he unquestionably prefers that the Dominion lose it. Toddman then warns that if Tain succeeds, the Jem'Hadar will likely launch a massive retaliatory attack against the Alpha Quadrant and orders Sisko to evacuate Deep Space 9 of non-essential personnel and have the USS Defiant ready for battle. Sisko requests permission to take the Defiant into the Gamma Quadrant to rescue Odo, but Toddman refuses and explicitly tells him his top priority is to guard Bajor. Directly after the meeting, Sisko instructs the senior staff that as a "volunteer mission" he is going to go to the Gamma Quadrant with the Defiant to rescue Odo, justifying it as they will be able to warn the station (and the task force of nine starships being sent) in case of an oncoming attack.
All the senior staff has volunteered for the mission, and the Defiant's bridge is full. Kira gets a repeated message from Toddman, but Sisko suggests that the communication was too degraded to be legible. They leave, go through the wormhole and head directly for the Founders' homeworld.
Lovok and Tain describe the situation: the nearest Jem'Hadar bases to the planet are too far, giving them time to bombard the planet. Pressure is again put on Garak to extract information from Odo about the planet's possible planetary defenses. Garak is less than keen, pointing out that Odo likely put all relevant information in his report to Starfleet… and besides, he doesn't relish the idea of interrogating someone who can change their form at will. Tain presents a device that emits a quantum stasis field which should inhibit Odo's shapeshifting ability. While Lovok is angry that he wasn't informed about this device, Garak does not seem pleased with this news and Tain suggests the Tal Shiar should continue the interrogation. Garak is visibly upset and insists that Odo is his prisoner and that it is his duty and responsibility to question Odo further. Tain agrees, with skepticism.
Suddenly, the Defiant's cloaking device fails leaving the crew totally exposed and vulnerable to any Jem'Hadar ships.
Security chief Eddington admits that he has sabotaged the cloaking device under direct orders by Admiral Toddman. Despite Sisko's noticeable frustration with Eddington's betrayal, Eddington requests to continue his duties giving his word he will do nothing else to impede the mission. Sisko immediately observes that it is his policy to not question the "word" of a Starfleet officer, and he promptly grants Eddington's request. Sisko gives Chief O'Brien a two-hour deadline to fix the cloak, despite the chief telling him it will take ten.
Garak begins questioning Odo and using the quantum stasis device. Odo is about ready to return to liquid form and is discomforted at being forced to maintain humanoid form. As time passes, Odo begins to lose cohesion and taunts Garak. It is clearly bothering Garak to see Odo in such pain and he encourages Odo to confess anything – even to lie – as long as he gives up some information. Odo admits that despite all the atrocities his people have committed, he still desires to return to the Great Link, which is information he hadn't shared with Starfleet, allowing Garak to deactivate the device and end the interrogation. While Odo returns to his natural state and pours himself into the container, Garak holds his head in his hands, showing deep regret at what he has done.
O'Brien has managed to get the cloaking device back online. He returns to the bridge to give Eddington a piece of the damage as a jab. Sisko orders the cloak engaged and tells Dax to resume course.
Despite learning about the Great Link, Garak informs Tain and Lovok that Odo never broke, and that there is no new information that can be learned from him. Tain then decides Odo has outlived his usefulness, and orders him executed, but Garak suggests that killing Odo might cause problems with Starfleet and the Bajoran government, since Odo is an officer of their militia serving on a Federation outpost. Lovok speaks first and agrees that Odo must not be executed, but based on the fact that not all Founders might be on their home planet and Odo could be useful in future engagements, concluding with that he wants to take Odo to Romulus for further studies. At that moment, Tain and Lovok hear that the fleet has entered the Omarion Nebula and will reach orbit of the Founders' homeworld in 15 minutes. Upon hearing this, Tain concedes to Lovok, orders the helmsman to drop out of warp and reports to the bridge. Once Tain is gone, Lovok tells Garak that he knows he's protecting Odo out of friendship. Lovok tells Garak that he knows he is a practiced liar but assures him that he is a practiced observer and will be observing him very closely.
The Cardassian-Romulan fleet arrives at the Founders' homeworld, and begins their bombardment. They are initially pleased with the damage they are be doing, only to be horrified when the tactical officer reports no change in lifeform readings, which is impossible. Garak quickly discerns that the Founders are using an automated transponder to send back false life sensor readings from the planet… the planet has been evacuated. Suddenly, they find they have been outmaneuvered when one hundred fifty Jem'Hadar fighters emerge from the nebula. Garak realizes that it was a trap and that the Jem'Hadar had been waiting for them all along.
The Battle of the Omarion Nebula begins as the Jem'Hadar easily annihilate the fleet. In the first few seconds, the Cardassian cruiser Koranak is destroyed and the Romulan warbirds Makar and Belak lose main power. Lovok loses contact with engineering; he goes to investigate, leaving Tain in command of the bridge. Garak, seeing the battle not going well, makes his way off the bridge to locate and save Odo. They run into Lovok, weapon drawn, who surprises them by giving them information they'll need to reach the runabout. When asked why, Lovok explains that no Changeling has ever harmed another, revealing himself to actually be one of the Founders. He admits that while the plan to attack the Founders' homeworld was indeed concocted by Tain, when they learned of it they pushed it forward in order to destroy the Tal Shiar and Obsidian Order viewing them both as serious threats, but not any longer. As far as the Founders are concerned, only the Klingon Empire and United Federation of Planets remain as serious opposition but there are already plans in motion to take care of them. Odo is again presented with the choice of joining the Great Link, which he again declines. "Lovok" allows them the chance to escape and is beamed off the doomed ship.
Garak makes his way back to the bridge in an attempt to save Tain, but he refuses to leave. Garak tells him that Lovok was a Changeling, and Tain rues that he has become old and let his pride override his instinct noting that in the old days he would have kept someone as smart as Lovok at arm's length. He also tells a pleading Garak that no matter what happens now, he has no intention of returning to his quiet retirement with Mila. Odo has to knock Garak out to force him onto the runabout and escape. As they escape, Tain wryly notes that the Founders are "very good. Next time, we should be more careful." The runabout escapes the Romulan ship before it is destroyed, but is pursued by the Jem'Hadar and loses its shields. When all seems lost, Garak sincerely apologizes and Odo accepts the apology, saying that he understands Garak's desire to return home. The Defiant decloaks and is able to transport Odo and Garak on board. The Defiant attacks and destroys a number of Jem'Hadar fighters, clearing itself a path back to the wormhole.
Speaking with Admiral Toddman on a monitor in his office, Sisko states that it appears no Romulan or Cardassian ships survived the battle. Toddman likens it to the Battle of Wolf 359; a comparison that visibly rattles Sisko, but one that he agrees is fundamentally accurate. The admiral tells Sisko that he won't file charges against him or the crew, but warns him that next time he will have to either court martial him… or promote him. Toddman assures Sisko that in either case, he will be in a lot of trouble. Sisko promises to keep that in mind.
Standing in the charred remains of his shop, Garak reflects on past events and begins to clean up the mess, when Odo appears in the doorway to thank Garak for leaving his confession out of his report. The two agree that the whole conversation is best left forgotten, as Garak decides to rebuild his shop noting the irony that he's actually a very good tailor. Odo asks Garak if they could have breakfast together sometimes. Garak remarks that he thought Odo didn't eat, and Odo simply responds that he doesn't before exiting.
"Odo, talk to me! Tell me something, anything! Lie if you have to but just say it, please!"
"Home, I want to go home!"
"And you will, as soon as this is over I promise I will take you back to Deep Space 9."
"No, not the station."
- - Garak and Odo
"Do you remember getting that confession out of Dr. Parmak?"
"I never even touched him…"
"That was the beauty of it!"
- - Enabran Tain and Garak
"It sounds like you're hoping Tain will succeed!"
"I never hope for war, Major – but if it comes, I'd rather see the Dominion on the losing side."
- - Kira, sensing Starfleet's tacit support of the invasion, and Admiral Toddman, more or less admitting as much
"You've turned us into sitting ducks for the Jem'Hadar!"
- - O'Brien to Michael Eddington for sabotaging the Defiant's cloaking device
"I make it a policy to never question the word of anyone who wears that uniform. Don't make me change that policy."
- - Sisko to Michael Eddington after he gave his word to never betray Sisko again
"Tell me – what else am I feeling? I've never been psychoanalyzed by a Romulan before. This is a fascinating experience!"
- - Garak to Lovok
"So much for the Dominion! Open fire!"
- - Tain, moments before the fleet starts firing at the Founders' homeworld
"They're using an automated transponder to send back false sensor readings! The planet's deserted!!"
- - Garak
"It's a trap! They've been waiting for us all along."
- - Garak
"Why are you helping us?"
"Because no Changeling has ever harmed another."
- - Odo and Lovok
"Of course! This whole plan was the Founders' idea in the first place – you wanted the Tal Shiar and the Obsidian Order to combine forces, and come in to the Gamma Quadrant, so you could wipe them out!"
"Not exactly. Tain originated the plan. And when we learned of it, we did everything we could to carry it forward. The Tal Shiar and the Obsidian Order are both ruthless, efficient organizations, a definite threat to us."
"But not after today?"
"No. After today, the only threat remaining to us from the Alpha Quadrant are the Klingons and the Federation. And I doubt either of them will be a threat for much longer."
- - Odo and Lovok
"It is not too late for you, Odo. Come with me. You can still become one with the Great Link if you wish."
- - Lovok
"It appears I have underestimated the Founders. I should have seen it coming. There was a time when nothing got past me. You remember, don't you, Elim?"
"Yes, I do, but now, we have to go!"
"Go where? Back to Mila and my quiet retirement? I don't think so. I must be getting old. I let my pride override my instinct. Wouldn't have played it that way in the old days. In the old days, I would have kept Lovok at arm's length. He was too cagey, too smart."
"I can't just leave you here!"
"I always did have a soft spot for you, Garak. Another one of my flaws."
"These Founders, Elim, they're very good. But next time… we should be more careful."
- - Tain and Garak
"Sounds like Wolf 359 all over again."
- - Admiral Toddman, referring to the annihilation of the Cardassian-Romulan fleet at the Battle of the Omarion Nebula
"If you pull a stunt like that again, I'll court martial you… or I'll promote you. Either way you'll be in a lot of trouble."
- - Admiral Toddman
"Do you know what the sad part is, Odo? I'm a very good tailor."
- - Garak
"Garak... I was thinking that you and I should have breakfast together sometime."
"Why, Constable... I thought you didn't eat."
- - Odo and Garak
Story and script
- A working title of this episode was "Improbable Cause, Part II". This was the first Star Trek episode to have a two-parter with different names. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion - A Series Guide and Script Library)
- The writers saw this episode as a chance to remind viewers that Garak wasn't a typical good-guy. According to Ira Steven Behr, "We wanted to show what he's capable of, even if he doesn't want to do it. Could you torture someone, if you had to? Garak can do it." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 232))
- Neither Cirroc Lofton (Jake Sisko) nor Armin Shimerman (Quark) appear in this episode. Quark is referred to by Odo at the end of the episode and appeared in a deleted scene set before the Defiant left for the Gamma Quadrant.
- In a scripted but unfilmed or deleted part of the scene where Admiral Toddman is speaking to the Deep Space 9 crew, Toddman mentions that he had bet two cases of Saurian brandy on Bashir winning the Carrington Award ("Prophet Motive") earlier in the year and that, since Bashir lost, he also lost, commenting that "I don't like to lose." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion - A Series Guide and Script Library)
Cast and characters
- Andrew Robinson found one particular scene in this episode remarkable, since he felt it was a subversion of Garak's method of communicating everything using subtext, such as body language, facial expressions and posture. "That's why there is a major turn in the episode 'The Die is Cast'. The major turn, when Odo is there in front of him crumbling because they've set up this field so that Odo can't revert to his liquid state, and he is literally crumbling – Garak begs him, gets on his knees and begs him to tell him anything, just lie, and for one moment, suddenly there is no subtext. The subtext is the text for Garak at that moment." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 103, p. 53)
- This episode was the first with Ira Steven Behr as executive producer.
- Regarding the filming of the scene in which his character of Odo is tortured by Garak, actor Rene Auberjonois noted, "I felt like some character from King Lear. The acting method I used was very Shakespearian." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 232))
- Visual Effects Supervisor Gary Hutzel was instructed to come up with a way to portray the Battle of the Omarion Nebula without going over-budget. His solution was to create transparencies of the models of the Romulan warbirds and the Cardassian ships, and to use those transparencies in the background. Coupled with the fact that they were in the background, Hutzel ensured that the camera never lingered on one of them too long, so as to ensure viewers didn't spot the effect. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. ?)) This episode features the biggest on-screen battle in Star Trek history up to this point (the Battle of the Omarion Nebula). (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. ?))
- Gary Hutzel commented on the special effects filming that "We started shooting motion-control on February 21, and we delivered on April 21. We had twenty days motion-control shooting – a record for a one-hour show." ("Believe What You See – Visual FX: Creating the Star Trek Universe", Star Trek: Communicator issue 105, p. 19) The shot where the USS Defiant destroys a Jem'Hadar fighter and then flies through the debris took four days to film. (Deep Space Nine Chronicles)
- One aspect of scoring the episode was deciding how to write the music that would accompany the torture scene. Composer Dennis McCarthy explained, "I had to express the horror of what Garak was doing to Odo and yet still put some shred of humanity into the music to show that Garak was suffering too, because Garak was having a hard time doing this. It was an opportunity to get very atonal musically. I don't believe that we ever heard a major chord on that show." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 232))
- Author Jeff Bond wrote that the episode had a "spectacular score" that was unique due to the success of McCarthy's score for Star Trek Generations. (The Music of Star Trek, p 153)
- The score during the Cardassian-Romulan battle with the Dominion was evidently used again in "The Way of the Warrior".
- Director David Livingston was grateful for having been involved in the creation of this episode. "I thought it was really good, and Gary Hutzel's visual effects with the space battles were great. I was fortunate to be able to get something [to direct] that had a lot of stuff going on with torture scenes and intrigue and battles and explosions." (Sci-Fi Universe, Vol. 1, issue 10, p. 52)
- David Livingston, Dennis McCarthy, and writer Ronald D. Moore were all extremely proud of the scene where Garak tortures Odo. Said Livingston, "I think the scene is the best in the episode. It's very intense, very dramatic, very powerful." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. ?)) Livingston even went as far as to say, "[It] is one of the best scenes that I've been involved in [….] I put it on my director's reel." (Sci-Fi Universe, Vol. 1, issue 10, p. 52)
- The Changeling says to Odo, at the end of the episode, that the Dominion already has plans for the Klingon Empire and the Federation. This single line turns out to be a powerful foreshadowing of a story arc the series proceeds to undertake during its fourth season, as the Changelings insert an infiltrator to turn the two powers against each other, setting up the Federation and Klingon war. In reality, the line from this episode actually inspired the fictional conflict. "I watched the tape we have of 'The Die is Cast'," explained Ira Steven Behr, "and the line the Founder said, 'The only thing we have to worry about in the Alpha Quadrant is the Federation and Klingon alliance, and that won't be a threat for much longer.' That just leaped out at me." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 100) Due to the actions of the series' regular characters, the war also later becomes the Dominion's first defeat, as their subterfuge is discovered and the Federation-Klingon alliance against them becomes stronger than it originally was. Nevertheless, at the end of that same arc, the Dominion gains a foothold in the Alpha Quadrant when the Cardassians, whose war with the Klingons caused the issues between the Federation and the Klingons, join the Dominion.
- Odo's revelation to Garak that he wants to go home to his own people is the first time Odo admitted to this. His desire to return to them became a major theme throughout the sixth and seventh seasons.
- In the fifth season episode "In Purgatory's Shadow", it was revealed that Enabran Tain was not killed in the battle, but taken prisoner.
- This episode contains the second reference to the fact that the Jem'Hadar are genetically engineered to be addicted to a particular drug, after "The Abandoned". The drug remained unnamed until the fourth season episode "Hippocratic Oath". It also contains the first reference to the communications array established in the Gamma Quadrant in the episode "Destiny".
This episode's portrayal of Garak as someone capable of knowingly committing nefarious actions is in keeping with his quick, almost reflexive killing of Entek and Tekeny Ghemor's warning to Kira not to trust him in "Second Skin"
- This episode (along with "Improbable Cause") was broadcast by the BBC in a feature-length format on its first airing, on 13 March 1997.
- There are many references to ancient Roman dictator Julius Caesar in this episode. The title "The Die is Cast" is taken from words reportedly spoken by Caesar in 49 BC, as he led a legion of troops across the Rubicon – an illegal act that effectively ignited the Great Roman Civil War. Garak also quotes Shakespeare's Julius Caesar to Tain ("I'm afraid the fault, dear Tain, is not in our stars but in ourselves"). Garak and Doctor Bashir had discussed the play in the teaser of "Improbable Cause". Fittingly, in "Family Business", which aired two weeks later, Sisko christens the runabout that replaces the USS Mekong lost in "The Die is Cast" as the "Rubicon".
- This is the last episode of the series to depict Sisko clean shaven since the first season episode "Emissary", although he was later seen without facial hair in his photo as Gabriel Bell on Nog's PADD in the fourth season episode "Little Green Men" and in the montage scenes in "What You Leave Behind".
- Admiral Toddman has the distinction of being the first 24th-century-era admiral to wear the operations gold colors.
- A script of this episode was sold off on the It's A Wrap! sale and auction on eBay. 
Video and DVD releases
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 3.11, 28 August 1995
- As part of the DS9 Season 3 DVD collection
Links and references
- Rene Auberjonois as Odo
- Siddig El Fadil as Doctor Bashir
- Terry Farrell as Lieutenant Dax
- Cirroc Lofton as Jake Sisko
- Colm Meaney as Chief O'Brien
- Armin Shimerman as Quark
- Nana Visitor as Major Kira
- Andrew Robinson as "Garak"
- Leland Orser as Lovok
- Kenneth Marshall as Michael Eddington
- Leon Russom as Toddman
- Michael Bailous as Romulan guard
- Majel Barrett as Narrator
- Ivor Bartels as Human security officer
- Jeff Cadiente as Romulan guard
- Brian Demonbreun as Human command officer
- Randy James as Jones
- Dennis Madalone as Romulan bridge officer
- Tom Morga as Romulan bridge officer
- Robin Morselli as Bajoran officer
- Unknown performers as:
23rd century; 2320; 2368; addiction; Algira sector; Alpha Quadrant; amusement; arena; Argelian; arms merchant; Bajor; Bajorans; Bajoran Militia; Bajoran sector; Bajoran wormhole; Barton; Battle of the Omarion Nebula; Battle of Wolf 359; bearing; Belak; Cardassia; Cardassians; Cardassian Central Command; Cardassian cruiser (unnamed); Cardassian government; Cardassian space; chief security officer; Chow-Yun; combat veteran; Constable; crime novel; D'deridex-class (unnamed); debris; Dominion; Dominion cold war; Dukat; Earth; Eye; Federation; fire team; Flaxian; Flaxian ship; Founders; Founders' homeworld; Gamma Quadrant; general court martial; heart; housekeeper; information; informant; interrogation; ion storm; Jem'Hadar; Jem'Hadar attack ship (unnamed); Keldon-class (unnamed); Ketracel-white; Klingons; Koranak; lead ship; Lovok; Lovok's warbird; Makar; mantle; massage facility; Mekong, USS; meter; Mila; Milky Way Galaxy; nonessential personnel; Obsidian Order; Omarion Nebula; Omarion Nebula star; outpost (unnamed; Toddman's outpost) orbital bombardment; Parmak; planetary defenses; plomeek soup; poison; Porania; Portland, USS; pride; Promenade; quantum stasis field; renting; Replimat; retirement; Romulan; Romulan cuisine; Romulan Senate; Romulan Star Empire; Romulus; runabout; sabotage; sarcasm; sensor range; shape-shift inhibitor; standby alert; star (unnamed); Starfleet; Starfleet Command; strangulation; subspace energy fluctuation; swimming; Tal Shiar; task force; tetryon; tetryon compositor; treason; Vicarian razorback; warbird, Romulan; Willemheld; wormhole relay station
- USS Defiant dedication plaque: Ahern, Terry; Antares Ship Yards; Bajor sector; Baxter, Michael; Behr, Ira Steven; Berman, Rick; Blackman, Bob; Brown, Judy; Cameron, B.C.; chief of staff; Clancey, Pat; Curry, Dan; DeGaetano, Dave; della Santina, Bob; Elkins, Judy; Echevarria, René; Fleet Operations; Fredrickson, Anthony; Gocke, Bill; Herbertson, Scott; Hutzel, Gary; Jein, Gregory; Krosskove, Chris; Lauritson, Peter; Lawrence, Paul; Livingston, David; Martin, Jim; McIlvain, Randy; Longo, Joe; Masefield, John; Meininger, Tony; Monak, Gary; Moore, Ronald D.; Nash, Erik; Okuda, Denise; Oster, Steve; Piller, Michael; Research and Development; Richarz, Laura; Roddenberry, Gene; Science Operations; Smothers, Heidi; Starfleet Command; Sternbach, Rick; Tactical Ops; Takemura, David; Unsinn, Jim; Van Over, James; West, Jonathan; Westmore, Mike; Whitley, Brian; Wilkinson, Ron; Wolfe, Robert; Yard Engineer; Zimmerman, Herman
- "The Die is Cast" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "The Die is Cast" at Wikipedia
- The Die is Cast at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "The Die is Cast" at MissionLogPodcast.com, a Roddenberry Star Trek podcast
|Star Trek: Deep Space Nine