**** (4 stars out of 5)
You killed Tekeny! You bastards!
Worf (never having seen 'Second Skin') is confused that Kira thinks of a Cardassian like Tekeny Ghemor as a surrogate father.
"You should have known her 5 years ago," Dax jokes. "Back then, I thought she'd never be friends with anyone."
Kira's ambitious plans to have Ghemor lead a government-in-exile offering a dissenting voice to Dukat and the Dominion are smashed when she learns the kindly old Legate is dying. Tekeny asks Kira to hear his traditional shri-tal: secrets for loved ones to use against their enemies. (Well, he's kindly for a Cardassian.)
Dukat claims he can return Ghemor's real daughter. That and a full pardon is not enough (even on the off chance it were true) for Tekeny to agree to support the Dominion Puppet and his twitchy ghoul Weyoun. Vorta are cloning experts: the Weyoun Sisko saw killed by his own troops was the fourth incarnation of their progenitor, this Weyoun is the fifth. (If they all hatched at once, what a wonderful boy band they'd make!)
Dukat shows Kira war records on Ghemor, including 17 dead monks. Unlike whatever number Dukat killed, it's a number Ghemor deeply regrets from a youth as a misinformed monster.
Sisko intercepts Dukat's chalice of poisoned kanar for Ghemor, and with a hearty chuckle Weyoun drinks it anyway. "Quite toxic." he smiles. "Vorta are immune to most forms of poison. It comes in handy when you're a diplomat."
Kira wasn't there when her own father died- she was out killing Cardassians. Ghemor's passing gives her a chance to make up for that.
Poor Kira, right? A dad who's not really her dad, and a son who's not really her son. Metaphors for her terrible Cardassian past and her uncertain human future.
By the by, Bajorans don't get headstones: they get a croquet hoop. A staple for all the collating they're going to be doing while they're in the Celestial Temple for eternity.
"Ties of Blood and Water" 'introduces' Weyoun, my new favourite. He's a horror show, yes. His body is a roadmap of pain, yes. But he's a twisted delight to watch.