The Way Of The Warrior (S4, E1/E2)
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine delivered some thrilling conflicts across its seven years, from the futile assault on the Founders homeworld in season three’s ‘The Die is Cast’ through to the epic space battles of the Dominion War in the final two seasons. But few delivered the game-changing, dramatic scale of season four opener ‘The Way of the Warrior’. While the introduction of the Dominion in season two finale ‘The Jem’Hadar’ shook up the dynamic of the show, it was this double-episode that delivered two hours of confident storytelling which changed how we saw the show forever.
The Cold War with the Dominion was now gaining momentum and in this massive episode, Cardassia closed its borders and the Klingon Empire launched a full scale invasion to eradicate the threat of Changeling imposters (the irony of course being that Klingon commander Martok was a changeling all along, though he wouldn’t be revealed as such for another year). Not only did the show deliver the first appearance of the brilliant J.G. Hertzler as the gravelly Martok, it reintroduced Robert O’Reilly’s Chancellor Gowron as a major player in the Star Trek universe and brought Michael Dorn’s Worf over from Star Trek: The Next Generation as a main character for the remaining four seasons.
It also tore up the rulebook, ending the Khitomer Accords that Kirk and co. fought so hard for in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country and kickstarted a war between the Federation and the Klingons that raged for a year and a half. That culminated in an explosive attack on Deep Space Nine that tested Sisko and his crew like nothing before. Adding in the irony of the Defiant saving the Cardassian leaders and Gul Dukat and Garak fighting side by side, this season opener had huge ramifications for the show moving forward.