When Bareil and Kai Winn make an unannounced shuttle trip to DS9 to finalize a peace treaty with the Cardassians, so right from the start Bullshit
An accident seriously injures Bareil, who dies on the operating table, some residual radiation manages to preserve him long enough for Bashir to perform a miracle and bring him back sort of.
But "Life Support" also works on the level involving Bashir's dilemma. He has to perform these experimental medical procedures at Bareil's request. The drug takes its toll on Bareil, and his major organs begin to break down, forcing Bashir to replace them with artificial implants. This leads him to appeal a plea to Winn, hoping she will take over the talks and allow Bareil to rest with a chance of surviving.
It's the best vehicle this season for Bashir as a doctor; we get to see him in action playing for a single motive—his patient's welfare.
Eventually, Bareil suffers permanent brain damage, and Bashir reluctantly replaces part of his brain with positronic implants so the treaty can be finalized. An eerie scene displays a detached Bareil who, with part of his mind replaced with a machine, loses much of his grasp on reality and emotion, speaking in a slow, confused monotone. his best and most natural acting
To be fair Winn needs him there as a scapegoat if things go wrong. And Bashir's point line to that effect is very nice.
There's also a B plot in this episode, in which Nog ruins a date of Jake's by being super ferengi I note this as it's point for the next story.
The Cardassian and Bajoran peace treaty negotiations should have been a HUGE storyline, and at the very least, treated as if it were a standalone episode with no B-plot. If budget were a concern, it could have been a dialogue-heavy, bottle episode. Yet, somehow, this historical event becomes overshadowed.
I know the writers were having a somewhat challenging time transitioning from episodic writing to serialized writing. But there's no reason why the aforementioned story-arc events could have been all used on a standalone basis, and instead, we're left with the miscommunicated mashup that is "Life Support."
"Heart of Stone" or did Life Support not happen last week
so the B-story is a lightweight but amiable yarn involving Nog trying to persuade Sisko to recommend him for Starfleet Academy. but Wait hang on last week he was ptiching for being all out Ferengi towards women.
The Nog storyline which culminates by him shouting: "Because I don't want to end up like my father." Nog steals the entire episode right there. Sisko did a fantastic job of giving him every chance to screw it up. Nog surprised him by being committed, and *good enough* to go on to Starfleet Academy.
we observe Jake and Nog's characters both grow up -- not only physically but also emotionally.
To the A plot no mention of events of last week and how they would efect Kira.
the intention here was to confirm all the suspicions we've had about Odo's feelings, it's little more than an exercise in redundancy. I got the point in "Fascination." And in the episode's finale, by having Odo not discuss with the real Kira about what he actually said to the shapeshifter, the writers take the easy way out, burying their heads in the sand while burying the topic without any semblance of closure. I get that he was embarassed and shy, didn't want to go through it again. When it comes to his feelings, he isn't the brave, fearless man, he usually is. Simply put, it makes more sense for him to stay silent about it, it wouldn't be him to pour his soul out to Kira, at least not yet.
Furthermore, I doubt that the nameless female shapeshifter would go to such lengths to sway Odo into returning to the Gamma Quadrant. It's hard enough to swallow that she could or would impersonate Kira with such alarming accuracy. But the fact that she steals a Maquis ship to get Odo and Kira to chase her to this isolated planet seems entirely contrived in retrospect or could it be She's their leader. They are all 'one' in the great link. He is a lost child to her, and from all we know their society places great emphasis on togetherness, completeness, wholeness, what have you. No changeling has ever harmed another... their bond is THAT strong, to overcome all personal feelings/greivances to put their collective above all else. Odo may be hugely important to the Changeling society.
it's still a stupid plan that's not gonna work without some major luck...