Star Trek Deep Space Nine: Soldiers of the Empire

Dax: "To hell with prudence! This isn't a Federation starship. This is a Klingon Bird of Prey."

By nature I love brevity: Director LeVar Burton's steady hand at the helm deftly pulls all the elements together into an excellent, engaging hour.

What really makes this one is Burton's direction, the way he uses his camera, directs his actors, and establishes tone. The episode gives us a real taste of what life is like on a Klingon ship, more than any prior episode of Trek. The guest actors, while they vary in acting ability, provide a unique flavor. While the script doesn't have many interesting ideas as far as the plot is concerned, its perspective on Klingons is excellent. Which makes sense if you know anything about Ronald D. Moore.

Another valuable thing this episode does is continue to establish Martok's character for the audience. He's been a minor antagonist and then a Changeling impostor, and really our only chance to get to know him so far has been in the Dominion prison camp. Here we see him with all his faults and good points. You can tell how that prison camp experience changed him from the bluster he projects toward everyone else. It's to the show's credit that it doesn’t go for the all-too-typical moment where he finally drops his act to reveal his inner brokenness. Instead we're trusted to get the idea on our own through Hertzler's performance.

As I said, the plot is nothing special. None of the beats are surprising or particularly engaging. The script is there to serve its function, deliver a few Klingon insults for my quote section, and then get out of the way. JG Hertzler continues to breathe life into Martok's character, and Dorn and Farrell are as delightful as always. In particular, Dax's interactions with the crew sparkle, largely due to the performances and not the material.

There is a B story, if you can call it that. A few scenes take place back onboard DS9, mostly to give the rest of the cast an appearance in the episode. Despite this, Jake and Quark are nowhere to be seen.

I find I don't have much more to say about this episode. It's excellently well-produced, with a functional script. The insights into Klingons, even this late in the Trek game, are welcome. It's not a theme-heavy story either, which prevents a deep dive there.

Pensees:

-The sequence with the Klingon war song is a masterful setting of tone. Its recurrence at the end really works to bring the episode to a close.

-The plot here is notable going forward for one reason only. Worf is now a member of the House of Martok, marking his return to honorable Klingon society. He has been an outcast ever since the TNG episode 'Sins of the Father'.

-It's interesting to realize in this episode that at this point, Dax has a better reputation and more respect from most Klingons than Worf does.

-The original draft for this episode had Worf and the Klingon crew going to a planet and entering the Klingon afterlife. Worf would have met his father Mogh. The idea was abandoned, but it would later be reworked into the VOY episode 'Barge of the Dead'.

Quotes:

Martok: 'Thank you.'
Bashir: 'If you really want to thank me, don't walk in here dripping blood anymore. It takes days to get it out of the carpet!'

Worf: 'I am Worf, son of Mogh. I now take my place as first officer. I serve the Captain, but I stand for the crew.'
A great and succinct summary of the job of a second in command.

Leskit: 'You mean the one-eyed Giant?'
Dax: 'I wouldn't let him hear you say that.'
Leskit: 'He won't. Unless Worf is not the only one you're sharing a bed with on this trip.'
Dax: 'On this trip, my bed is as empty as yours, Leskit, except mine is empty by choice.'

4 out of 6 barrels of bloodwine.

CoramDeo decides to walk around the block. It's really a nice day.

1 comment:

Victoria Grossack said...

A necessary episode but not one that stands out.