*** (3 stars out of 5)
Remember the Iconians? Not surprising, we never really met these long-dead conqueror/innovators, but we saw their galaxy-hopping gates back in 'Contagion'.
And, of course, what lizard army that makes the Romulan Empire look like the Shriners found one of those ancient gates on Vandros IV? You guessed it!
Renegade Jem'Hadar blow a pylon right off the station. Soon, Defiant is joining forces with an A cappella group called Weyoun and The Jem'Hadars. It's in the best interest of the Dominion and the Federation to destroy the Iconian device before lizard-men start popping up out of nowhere in every Popeye's Chicken in the universe. Also, less strategic targets too.
It's our chance to watch the daily grind from the Jem'Hadar perspective. In the sense that they find someone to grind up every day. They're the original Grand Clone Army of the Old Republic, enforcing the will of the Dominion for 2000 years. Their weaselly handlers, the Vorta, dole out the addictive drug they need to live, and pass on the will of their supposed gods, The Founders. The episode is designed to show us they are stronger, faster, and meaner than everyone ever, plus they never make a poo.
A breach of discipline for which Sisko sends Worf to bed without supper is the same one for which a Jem'Hadar will kill his most loyal underling. Jem'Hadar who live to be 20 are honored elders. None have ever lived to 30.
But, when you have nothing to live for except the fight: no food, no sleep, no sex, no women, no fun, no sin, no YOU, no wonder it's dark! I think I'm turning Jem'Hadar, I really think so.
To avoid a higher rating, 32 Jem'Hadar deaths were censored, it's said. Leaving only twenty or so, plus several human stabbings. For the kids!
"To The Death" is a window into the spartan, vicious lives of Jem'Hadar. You might be able to sympathize with them, but there's no way to befriend them. Jeffrey Combs is so splendid as insincere, despicable, cynical Weyoun that being fragged by his own troops is not the last we'll see of him.