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Star trek: Deep Space Nine 7.09a - Penumbra

Stardate around 52370
Threat advisory: Guarded - General risk of entertaining activities

Episode propaganda

As Sisko (Avery Brooks) revels in the purchase of Bajoran land, where he hopes to finally build his dream house, word reaches the station that Worf (Michael Dorn) is missing in action after a fierce battle with the Dominion. Due to strategic concerns, Sisko calls off the search party before Worf can be found. Overcome by memories of Jadzia's life with Worf, Ezri (Nicole de Boer) steals a runabout and goes in search of Worf herself.

Persons of interest

  • Avery Brooks .... Commander Benjamin Lafayette Sisko
  • René Auberjonois .... Constable Odo
  • Michael Dorn .... Lieutenant Worf
  • Nicole de Boer .... Lieutenant Ezri Dax
  • Cirroc Lofton .... Jake Sisko
  • Colm Meaney .... Chief O'Brien
  • Armin Shimerman .... Quark
  • Alexander Siddig .... Doctor Julian Bashir
  • Nana Visitor .... Colonel Kira Nerys
  • Majel Barrett .... Starfleet computer voice
  • Penny Johnson .... Kasidy Yates
  • Jeffrey Combs .... Weyoun
  • Marc Alaimo .... Dukat
  • Casey Biggs .... Legate Damar
  • Deborah Lacey .... Sarah Sisko
  • Salome Jens .... Changeling
  • Judi Durand .... station computer voice
  • Michelle Horn .... Saghi
  • René Echevarria .... Screenwriter
  • Steve Posey .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Intelligence report


Penumbra is the beginning of the end. The end of the final season of Deep Space Nine. As such, it is compulsory viewing no matter what I think of it. I will, however, still manage to tell you what I think of it. Are you surprised?

Ezri suddenly becomes attracted to Worf. Did anyone see that coming? No. Why? Because they didn't set it up. They have simply thrown it in. Not a good way to write a story. Sisko & Yates get engaged. Did anyone see that coming? Etc, etc. Sisko has a vision from the Prophets. The link is still diseased. Damar is still drinking. Dukat is still loved by the Pah-Wraiths. Yadda, yadda. There are some really cool bits, such as the opening scene and the tumbling through the Badlands scene and the sudden introduction of the Breen (another surprise that no-one could see coming, Mutter, mutter) but there is nothing in this episode that is really worth watching. It is stuck as the introduction for the final chapter of the series and is nothing more than that. This is a pity because it could easily have been a brilliant episode, telling you everything you need to know while thoroughly entertaining you at the same time.


The biggest problem with this episode is that Sisko is so suddenly passionate about Bajor. Sure, he has espoused the planet's virtues to Admiral Ross but that was also one of those sudden things that the writers threw in without warning. Now, over a year later, without once mentioning the way he feels about Bajor, he's bought some land and is going to build a house there because he loves it so much. Humph.

I have had enough of giving you my opinion on this one. Just watch it so that you understand the nine episodes that follow.

FYI: A penumbra is a fringe region of partial shadow around an umbra, which is a region of complete shadow resulting from total obstruction of light. You most often encounter both during eclipses. The episodes of The Final Chapter of DS9 were all going to be titled after spatial phenomena but someone changed their mind at the last minute and never got around to changing this one.

Security censorship classification

PG (Low level violence)

Not for public release in Australia before date

VHS rental and retail: 7 September 1999

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Mutter, mutter
The first rule of story telling in the 90s is that deus ex machina (god from a machine) is unacceptable.

The concept comes from classical Greek theatre in which a god would descend from the heavens at the end of a play and sort out all the problems that the foolish mortals had gotten themselves into. The machine was a stage contraption whereby an actor could swoop in making a thoroughly grand entrance like your average Olympian deity, hence the expression.

The problem with this today is that theatre and film are not religious matters. Audiences expect to be able to solve a problem themselves (as in real life). Imagine a murder mystery where you didn't ever hear of the murderer's existence until the final scene. It's fundamentally unfair to the audience to solve a problem using some kind of mechanical intrusion (yes, that's why people complain so much about technobabble: all they have to do is put [tech.] in the script and everything works out, nothing like the way life is).

What does this have to do with an episode that doesn't have any [tech.] in it? Well, the creators are doing exactly the same thing with Ezri & Worf falling in love (or lust). They have never shown any kind of affection for each other in the six months that Ezri has been on the station. Suddenly, in one episode, they are truly, madly, deeply. Foul ball. Sisko & Yates getting engaged? Same thing. They've been going out for a long time (off & on) but have never even mentioned the possibility of going to the next level. Had they talked about it a few episodes ago then put it on the back burner for a while... fine. But they didn't. So they can't. But they have. Unfair.

I have said enough.

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