Continuing from Part 1 (s4e11 “Homefront“), Sisko and Odo puzzle over Starfleet’s reports on the planetwide power outage, noting that the elite cadet group Red Squad was first recalled, then assigned to unspecified field duty.
Though the streets are empty except for the security guards, Joseph Sisko opens his restaurant, seeing the guards as potential customers.
When Sisko contacts an Academy administrator and neutrally mentions a transporter record that names Red Squad, the administrator thanks Sisko for catching it, asks him to erase it, and casually mentions that Leyton was right about Red Squad’s mission.
Joseph seems perfectly OK with getting his blood tested now, and Sisko seems troubled by that.
Though Rom is reluctant to give away the names of any Red Squad members, Sisko orders him to put him in touch with one.
Thinking that he’s defending his team and impressing the war hero Sisko, a Red Squad cadet reveals his team was ordered (by a female officer who did not give her name) to sabotage the planetary power grid.
Sisko and Odo spell it all out to the skeptical Federation President: Leyton is not satisfied with the security protocols the President agreed to, and created the power grid emergency to reduce resistance to martial law on Earth. Sisko, Odo and the President strategize on how to prove their case.
At the restaurant Admiral Leyton shows up to recruit Sisko to his side, but Sisko declines — mildly, without seeming to reveal all he has learned about Leyton.
At SF Headquarters, Sisko is surprised by a visit from O’Brien, or rather, a Changeling taking the shape of O’Brien to gloat and taunt.
Joseph sees that his son is brooding over something, and gives him the same fatherly advice he gave him when was brooding over a girl… “stop thinking and start doing.”
Sisko contacts Kira on DS9, though the scene cuts away before we hear his plan.
Odo learns that Leyton has arranged a large number of personnel transfers set to go into effect the day before the President is scheduled to give a big speech, but we soon learn that Leyton intends to give that speech himself.
The Defiant is on its way to Earth with an officer who admits that under Leyton’s orders he triggered the strange behavior of the wormhole, which means that Leyton is behind yet another apparent security threat.
Benteen is now commanding the Lakota, with orders to stop the Defiant, which she has been told has been taken over by Changelings.
Sisko seems to have neglected to report to Starfleet that the Defiant has been upgraded with plot armor, but the Lakota has anti-plot-armor “quantum torpedoes.”
Worf is ready to give the order to finish off the Lakota, when suddenly the Lakota powers down.
We watch Worf & co. as they react to and describe Benteen’s off-camera actions. It’s kind of a let-down for her character, but the writers needed to give the other lead characters some lines, and also also save time for Sisko’s confrontation with Leyton, and for a final scene in the restaurant showing life on Earth returning to normal.
I remember liking this two-parter when it aired, and it still holds up just fine. The space battle, the shape-shifting effects, several different locations, and enough time for plot threads to sit almost forgotten for several acts all helped tell an expansive story, though on my rewatch it strikes me how much time the leads spend (and how much money the producers must have saved) by standing around talking about things that happened in the past or off-camera between scenes.