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Star Trek Deep Space Nine: Rules of Engagement

Review by An Honest Fangirl

"The truth must be won."

While not traditional, a court of law is as much a battlefield as anything else. No wonder Klingons can excel there.

I tend to enjoy episodes that take place during a trial. They're a fun break from the usual format and tend to expose deep truths about the characters involved. Like the quote up top says, the truth must be won, and that goes for both the events that occur and how characters truly feel about them. It's fitting then that this episode on the how and if of an event was more focused on the why.

Why did Worf fire on an unarmed Klingon transport ship? Unlike most trial episodes, there was never any question about whether or not he did the act. He did it. Instead, this episode is more focused on what prompted Worf to do so, which allows us to get a better sense of how he is dealing with everything that has happened to him recently.

It's not entirely surprising that he wanted a chance to prove himself in battle, to have some form of vengeance over the people who unjustly ripped everything away from him and his family. Sure, Worf might control his bloodlust but that doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. It is simply channeled in different ways, like making military-based decisions instead of Starfleet-based.

However, despite my love for this kind of format, something about this episode just didn't work for me. Okay, maybe it's a combination of things. They tipped their hand too early that the Advocate was a Bad Guy who was trying to win the hearing for nefarious purposes. The dialogue about what the Federation stood to lose if Worf was extradited was important to establishing stakes, but it was just too heavy handed. I never questioned whether or not Worf willingly and knowingly fired on unarmed civilians because the opposition was too obviously evil.

I also wasn't the biggest fan of the fourth wall breaks. I enjoyed the various flashbacks, but the fourth wall breaks felt odd and unnatural. I didn't quite understand that directing choice, although it did work well for Quark's testimony. The constantly changing girls got the one laugh of the episode.

What was probably the most interesting scene to me was that last scene between Sisko and Worf. Now, I was a little shocked by how angry Sisko seemed, especially since he gave no indication of it all episode. But he was right. Worf got incredibly lucky. If Odo hadn't found that last minute piece of deus ex evidence, then the Advocate probably would have won. He was out of line, and I'm glad that the show acknowledged that.

Random Thoughts

I liked that a Vulcan was in charge of the hearing. That made sense to me.

That being said, she really should have held the Advocate in contempt far earlier.

O'Brien was really off on his estimate of how any battles he's been in, wasn't he?

I really wanted to like this episode, but something about it's execution just didn't feel right to me. It wasn't a bad episode, but it could have been better.

An Honest Fangirl loves superheroes, science fiction, fantasy, and really bad horror movies.

1 comment:

  1. I agree that this episode felt off, and I think it's because several things were out of character. For the Klingons to have done something in such an underhand way felt wrong; usually they're against duplicity of this nature, and it seems that I have never very little real honor among the Klingons. That may be explained by stuff we learn later, though.


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