Worf and O’Brien want to search for overdue Sisko and Dax, but Kira invokes the Defiant’s standing orders to guard the station. When the captain’s damaged runabout turns up, we learn Starfleet wants him to prove that, per Odo’s intelligence, Gowron is a Changeling.
Quark shows concern for Odo: “That’s one depressed ex-changeling.”
The constable, monologuing about ingestion (“It’s one of the few things that you… that *we* humanoids have control over”), shows little enthusiasm for the mission, which involves infiltrating a Klingon military base and planting plot-contrivance-field emitters to flabbergast the cellular jimberjams of any Changeling in the vicinity.
The writers do a good job using character-based humor to keep our attention during the exposition, as Dukat reacts to Kira’s pregnancy and to the sight of Odo, O’Brien and Sisko disguised as Klingons.
Dukat is willing to use his commandeered warbird to ferry the team, but his cynical underling Damar favors a more direct attack.
An amusing scene between Kira and Bashir breaks the fourth wall a bit on the topic of Kira’s pregnancy (in reality the actress playing Kira had gotten in the family way thanks to the actor playing Bashir). Bashir shows some maturity as he comforts Kira by letting her bicker at him, and later he commiserates with Jake over the tension visible on the Promenade, due to the war with the Klingons.
Sisko seems to enjoy taking Worf’s advice for emulating Klingon aggressive behavior, in contrast with O’Brien’s passive-aggressive smirking and Odo’s sulky snark.
On the Klingon base, of course they don’t just casually leave the ostentatiously-blinking gadgets in the pockets of cloaks or at the bottom of laundry bags. Instead, they pick them up and hold them near their faces, and deposit them at eye-height, so that we the TV viewers and the Klingons can see them.
We spent so much time on this set watching Klingons drink, sing, boast and fight that it becomes obvious the cinematographer was filming the same cramped space from different angles as an attempt to make it look a little bigger.
I thought this middle part of the episode was a bit predictable, maybe because it emulated the formula for the old Mission: Impossible series so well, with complex plans that get interrupted and revelations that cause shifting allegiances. Nevertheless, the final act brought enough surprises that the story was worthwhile.