Episode: The Adversary (Season 3, Episode 26 - S3 finale)
Directed by Alexander Singer
The season 2 finale of DS9 really kicked off the whole Dominion plot line, which continued into the third season; season 3 was still rather episodic when compared to the latter episodes though. The Adversary really kicked the Dominion plot into high gear. The short version of the episode is that a Changeling (one of Odo's species, if you don't know) infiltrates the Defiant and attempts to start a war with an alien species in order to take the Federation out of the picture to ease an Alpha Quadrant invasion. Surprise! It doesn't work, but Odo learns of a very important fact: it's too late, the Changelings (also called The Founders) are everywhere.
As an episode, it was fantastic: the writing was on, all the character notes were great - but I wanted to highlight the technical aspects of this one, because I thought they were above and beyond the rest of season three.
Very often in Star Trek (and especially DS9), we're presented with a giant ship (or station), where the characters have tons of room to move around. The Defiant, though, is a tiny ship in contrast. It's designed to be highly maneuverable, and highly efficient. The bridge is nice and big, and by necessity so is the engine room, but the rest of the ship is small. It's basically a submarine in space.
The Adversary does an excellent job in depicting the size of the ship. Camera angles were very tight and close, and the characters were put in some claustrophobic situations. Unfortunately I don't think many other episodes featuring the Defiant use these techniques as well as The Adversary; ironically I feel that these tight shots really showcased the Defiant more than wide shots otherwise would have.
The other thing that was really neat were the lack of cuts from the camera. I think this is directly related to the director (Singer) choosing to film the characters up close, so that when the camera needed to move to another area in the scene, it pulled back in a fluid motion - as if the viewer is the camera, and has to back up ever-so-slightly in order to survey more of the scene. It was really neat. But this also helped to simulate the effect of the Changeling watching the crew and being careful not to be noticed.
I don't normally notice these things, but I thought I needed to highlight these sneaky-but-awesome camera tricks in a well-written episode. If you haven't seen this one, track it down - you won't be disappointed.