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Apocalypse Rising (episode)

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"Apocalypse Rising"
DS9, Episode 5x01
Production number: 40510-499
First aired: 30 September 1996
97th of 173 produced in DS9
97th of 173 released in DS9
  {{{nNthReleasedInSeries_Remastered}}}th of 0 released in DS9 Remastered  
427th of 728 released in all
Sisko as a Klingon
Written By
Ira Steven Behr & Robert Hewitt Wolfe

Directed By
James L. Conway
Unknown (2373)
Arc: Changeling infiltration (6 of 8)
Arc: Klingon War (6 of 8)
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  Arc: {{{wsArc3Desc}}} ({{{nArc3PartNumber}}} of {{{nArc3PartCount}}})  
  Arc: {{{wsArc4Desc}}} ({{{nArc4PartNumber}}} of {{{nArc4PartCount}}})  

Sisko leads a commando team into Klingon headquarters in an attempt to expose the Changeling impersonating Gowron. (Season Premiere)


With war declared between the Klingon Empire and the Federation, Starfleet summons Captain Benjamin Sisko and Lt. Commander Jadzia Dax back to Earth to discuss Odo's dire belief that Gowron, the Chancellor of the Klingon High Council , has been replaced by a Changeling and is pressing forth the war.

Starfleet equips Sisko with modified polaron emitters with a mission to infiltrate Klingon military headquarters on Ty'Gokor to expose Gowron to polaron radiation; if he is a changeling, exposure to the radiation will make it impossible for him to retain his humanoid shape.

Surgically altered to look like Klingons, Sisko, Odo, Chief O'Brien and Lt. Commander Worf set course for Ty'Gokor in Gul Dukat's Bird-of-Prey. En route, Worf attempts to coach the three in acting like Klingons, and while Sisko proves reasonably convincing by backhanding Worf; he accidentally challenged him to a battle to the death, meanwhile O'Brien and especially Odo fail miserably. Dukat's holographic filter malfunctions just as a Klingon Bird-of-Prey confronts them and demands visual contact. Worf suggests that he talk the other captain down, but Dukat does not trust Worf and abruptly fires his ship's disruptors at the other Bird-of-Prey, totally destroying it. With the filter off-line, Dukat has no choice but to leave the DS9 officers on Ty'Gokor and leave Klingon space. When Sisko protests, Dukat assures him that if he is successful, the war will be over and they won't need his ship to return. (And if he fails, he won't need transport, since he'll very likely be executed as a spy and a saboteur.)

Hall of Warriors in 2373

The Hall of Warriors on Ty'Gokor

Beaming into Ty'Gokor, the Order of the Bat'leth ceremony is underway in the Hall of Warriors, with hundreds of drunken Klingons intending to celebrate all night in anticipation of Gowron's arrival. Worf informs the crew that the celebrations are an endurance test, and that only those who can drink and celebrate for the whole night and remain conscious the following morning will be inducted into the Order. Waiting until morning to set up their emitters, the DS9 officers begrudgingly partake in the festivities in order to blend in. During the course of the night, Sisko demonstrates his combat skills on several of the Klingons, and takes the opportunity to assault a Klingon who had killed one of Sisko's former Starfleet Academy classmates (though Sisko uses the excuse that the Klingon was in the way of the barrels of blood wine). By the following morning, Sisko and his crew are still coherent, thanks to an alcohol inhibitor provided by Bashir. When Martok arrives, Sisko fears he may recognize them. Although Martok feels he recognizes O'Brien, the Chief gets away with it by claiming to have fought at Mempa along with Martok during the Klingon Civil War, which satisfies his curiosity.

As Gowron arrives, the DS9 crew begin setting up their emitters; this goes without problem for Sisko, O'Brien and Worf, but Odo has trouble, firstly with a Klingon who spots his emitter and thinks it's a weapon (requiring Worf to step in and claim that the emitter is actually a Vulcan toy), then finding a drunken Klingon standing in the spot where the emitter needs to be placed. This time though, Odo finds his courage and tosses the Klingon aside before placing the emitter. Sisko prepares to activate the emitters, but is summoned by Gowron to join the Order of the Bat'leth. Sisko accepts the commendation. As he turns, he begins to activate the emitters, when he is attacked from behind by Martok, who now recognizes him.

Thrown into a holding cell, Sisko presses Martok, as he believes that Martok thinks that Gowron is a Changeling, as well. Martok cannot hide his feelings and agrees to help the DS9 officers kill Gowron, though strangely refuses the notion of challenging Gowron to a duel himself. As they fight their way back into the Hall of Warriors, Worf challenges Gowron to a fight to the death, while Martok holds Odo back from the others at gunpoint, strangely unwilling to trust him. When Martok wonders aloud why Sisko doesn't simply shoot Gowron, Odo realizes that a true Klingon wouldn't just shoot someone - they put honor above all else. However, Changelings don't care about honor. Gowron isn't the Changeling - Martok is.

Worf gains the upper hand on Gowron and shatters his Bat'leth, and just as he goes to make the killing blow, Odo and the Martok Changeling loudly brawl their way into the hall. Knocked to the ground, Odo exclaims "Martok is the Changeling!" Exposed, the Martok Changeling begins to choke Odo with a tendril of his shapeshifting body, but, he is blasted by Sisko's disruptor. As the other Klingons see Martok for what he really is, they begin firing as well, resulting in the Changeling's death.

With the dust settled, Gowron realizes that the Founders had manipulated Odo to believe that he was a Changeling, hoping that Starfleet would try to eliminate him. With Gowron dead at the hands of Federation operatives, the Martok Changeling would be able to rule the Klingon Empire, escalating the wars with the Federation and the Cardassian Union, destabilizing the Alpha Quadrant and leaving it wide open for a Dominion invasion. Sisko informs him that the best way to strike a blow against the Founders would be to end the war between the Federation and the Klingon Empire, but Gowron informs Sisko he can't if the Federation refuses to allow the Empire to annex what the Klingons have already captured, including Archanis. Sisko believes that the Federation won't agree, but, believes there's room for negotiation. Satisfied, Gowron decides to declare a cease fire, to convene the High Council, and to arrange for the DS9 officers to return home. Before they leave, Gowron promises that Worf will regret not killing him when he had the chance.

Memorable quotes

"Captain, you're just in time for happy hour."
"Do I look happy, Quark?"

- Quark and Sisko

"So let me get this straight, all we have to do is get past an enemy fleet, avoid a tachyon detection grid, Beam into the middle of Klingon headquarters, and avoid The Brotherhood of The Sword, long enough to set these things up & activate them in front of Gowron?

- O'Brien repeating the near impossible task ahead of them.

"What's the matter Dukat, haven't you ever seen a Klingon before?"

- Sisko, replying to Dukat's shocked face on how they have changed

"I am not interested in excuses. Are you a Klingon warrior or an Alverian dung beetle?"
"I really don't see the point..."
"Do not look away from me! I called you a dung beetle."
"I heard you."
"And what is your response?"
"You should have your eyes examined."

- Worf and Odo

(Sisko backhands Worf across the face)
"Are you questioning the validity of my plan?!"
"Very convincing, captain. But was it your intention to challenge me to a battle to the death?"
"No, not at all."
"Then next time, do not strike me with the back of your hand. Use your fist."

- Worf and Sisko

(Dukat fires disruptors, destroying a patrolling Klingon Bird-of-Prey)
"Was that really necessary?!"
"It was either that or trust in mister Worf's ability to lie. And frankly I have more faith in my weapons."

- Sisko and Dukat

"It's not easy being funny wearing these teeth."

- O'Brien, masquerading as a Klingon

"Brag all you want! But don't get between me and the bloodwine!"

- Sisko, masquerading as a Klingon

"It's a pity it doesn't have any bubbles."

- Odo

"Captain, you don't know how much I've looked forward to killing you in battle. And now your foolishness has cheated me of that pleasure."
"Sorry to disappoint you."

- Martok and Sisko

"What're they doing? Why doesn't Sisko just shoot him?!"

- Martok

"I have a better question - why isn't Gowron letting his bodyguards kill Worf? I'll tell you why: Klingon honor, a concept you should be very familiar with. My people, on the other hand, don't care about honor. How did you put it - there will be no honorable combat, no challenges? Hardly the words of a Klingon. Tell me, 'General' - did Gowron destroy the polaron emitters...or did you?"

- Odo, finally aware of who the real Changeling is

(Referring to her pregnancy) "But don't forget, this... is still your fault."
"My fault?"
"You performed the transfer from Keiko to me."
"After you volunteered."
"After you put the idea in my head."
"After you flew the runabout into the asteroid field."
"After you insisted we check on those anomalous bio-scans."
"That was Keiko."
"That's right. It was. But I'd rather blame you."

- Kira Nerys and Julian Bashir

"You know, I think I'm actually beginning to like bloodwine."
"It's really not too bad... except for the taste."

- O'Brien and Odo

"What is this?"
"It is your death!"

- Gowron and Worf

"You want to kill me, Worf? You're welcome to try!"

- Gowron

"You should have killed me when you had the chance. I promise you will not get another."

- Gowron, to Worf

Background Information

Story and script

  • The writers' primary goal during season 5 in general, and "Apocalypse Rising" in particular, was to get the show back on the track they'd been on in season 3, ie moving towards war with the Dominion. Season 3 was originally supposed to conclude with the episode that ultimately became "Homefront", while season 4 was to open with "Paradise Lost". However, towards the end of season 3, Paramount had told the writers that they didn't want a cliffhanger ending, and they also wanted something done to shake up the show, which ultimately led to the introduction of Worf and the Klingons. The Klingon War arc took up most of season 4, so now that the writers were moving into the next season, they wanted to end the Klingon conflict and get back to the inevitable conflict with the Dominion. As executive producer and writer Ira Steven Behr states, "Season 4 threw us for a loop, with the whole Klingon thing, and bringing Worf into the show. So the seminal thing about our fifth season opener was that we wanted to get back on the track we'd anticipated being on a year earlier. We were moving back toward making the shape-shifters and the Dominion our enemies. Not the Klingons. I didn't want to have the Klingons as our enemies." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
  • However, it was important to the writers not to give the impression that season 4 had simply been a pointless interlude, and they didn't wish to simply leap back into the Dominion arc without somehow connecting it to the Klingon arc. According to Ira Steven Behr; "we wanted to let people know that we didn't switch horse in midstream. So "Apocalypse Rising" was an important episode. By having that shape-shifter in there, we were saying, 'Season 4 wasn't a mistake. It wasn't the Klingons turning against us. There was a shape-shifter behind it all along.' And that's why we had to do that episode." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion) As such, this episode basically serves to link up the Klingon War arc of season 4 with the Dominion War arc of seasons 5, 6 and 7.
  • In relation to this episode, Ronald D. Moore states "Now that we had Worf aboard, and we'd made a commitment that the Klingons were part of Deep Space Nine, we had to find out what their role was and try to use them effectively. "Apocalypse Rising" was our first major attempt to do that." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
  • According to the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, it was writer Ronald D. Moore who suggested making Martok, rather than Gowron, turn out to be the Changeling, so as not to upset TNG fans. It was felt at this time that revealing Martok to be a Changeling would give the episode a nice unexpected twist. As it turned out, the producers were so pleased with J.G. Hertzler's performance in this episode, they made it a point to have the real Martok return in "In Purgatory's Shadow" and become a much more prominent character in the series. As René Echevarria explains, "This is the show where we fell in love with J.G. Hertzler as an actor. It was like, 'Hey, this guy is terrific. And here we are killing him.' But actually we were killing a Changeling, which started us thinking, 'If he's been replaced, where's the real guy. Maybe he's not dead. Maybe we can find him'." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion) While the Changeling expresses a desire to kill Sisko in battle, he and the real Martok would fight side-by-side in numerous engagements during the Dominion War.
  • It is in this episode where it is explained in Sisko's absence Kira is in command of the station, while Worf commands the USS Defiant. This was a decision taken by Ronald D. Moore in conjunction with Ira Steven Behr and Robert Hewitt Wolfe. According to Moore, "it came about when we were in the process of defining Worf's duties. In real command situation, the captain would not always go on dangerous missions, so Worf commands the Defiant, in deference to Sisko." Similarly, Wolfe explains, "essentially, he's the first officer of the ship, while Kira's the first officer of the station. That gave Worf something specific that he did as tactical officer." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
  • In a humorous in-joke, Kira blames Julian Bashir for her pregnancy. In real life, Nana Visitor was pregnant with Alexander Siddig's child at the time. Of the scene where she blames him, Ira Behr states, "We did do that on purpose. That was strictly for the audience. We thought it would be nice to acknowledge the relationship. So we started finding ways to put Nana and Sid together in episodes, giving them little moments that we were aware would seem to have double meanings. We got a kick out of it." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
  • Tora Ziyal was to appear in this episode with a single line welcoming Dukat aboard Deep Space 9. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion - A Series Guide and Script Library)


Chang statue

Statue of General Chang in the Hall of Warriors

  • Michael Dorn looked forward to seeing his co-stars being subjected to the same heavy Klingon make-up he was forced to endure for several years. However, Colm Meaney was so uncomfortable in the make-up and complained so much that Dorn asked the producers never to put Meaney in makeup again. Conversely, Rene Auberjonois said he found the Klingon make-up much easier than his typical Odo make-up since it covered less of his face. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
  • Although they are never seen very clearly on screen, the various statues in the Klingon Hall of Warriors were designed to give an overview of Klingon history, with the statues representing the heroes of different eras; for example, both Kahless and Chang are included. John Eaves, who designed the statues, also created several new characters, and in his design he tried to concentrate on the garments worn so as to give a sense of evolution leading into the modern Klingon warrior uniform seen throughout TNG and DS9. (Deep Space Nine Sketchbook: John Eaves, DS9 Season 5 DVD, Special Features)



  • This episode was nominated for Emmy Awards for Outstanding Cinematography for a Series (Jonathan West) and Outstanding Makeup for a Series.

Video and DVD releases

Links and references


Also starring

Guest stars


Uncredited co-stars

Stunt doubles


47; Alpha Quadrant; Alverian dung beetle; anti-intoxicant; Archanis IV; Armstrong, USS; asteroid field; A'trom; Barot; Bajoran; Bajoran ale; Benzenite; blood; bloodwine; bubble; cease fire; Changeling; Deep Space 9; Defiant, USS; Dominion; Dominion cold war; Drake, USS; Dukat's Bird-of-Prey; fangs; Federation; Federation-Klingon War (2372-73); Founder; general; Hall of Warriors; happy hour; House of Konjah; holo-filter; Human; Kahmar; kilometer; Klingon; Klingon Bird-of-Prey; Klingon Empire; Klingon High Command; Klingon High Council; Kobor; Laporin; litter; Mempa, Battle of; meter; Milky Way Galaxy; O'Brien, Keiko; optronic relay; Order of the Bat'leth; photon torpedo; polaron; polaron emitter; polaron radiation; Promenade; Quark's; radiation poisoning; raiding party; Rio Grande, USS; runabout; Rurik the Damned; Federation-Klingon War (2372-73); Shakaar Edon; shore leave; space station; Starfleet; Starfleet Academy; Starfleet Command; Starfleet Intelligence; Starfleet Science; targ; tooth; Tora Ziyal; Trill; T'vis; tachyon detection grid; Tajtiq; Tellarite; tinghamut; Ty'Gokor; Ty'Gokor orbital facility; Vilix'pran; Vor'cha-class; Vrax; Vulcan; Yan-Isleth; Yndar; Zora Fel

External links

Previous episode:
"Broken Link"
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Season 5
Next episode:
"The Ship"

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