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Star Trek Deep Space Nine: You Are Cordially Invited...

'There's nothing more romantic than a wedding on DS9 in springtime.'
'When the neutrinos are in bloom.'

By nature I love brevity: A pleasant episode with a strong focus on Jadzia and Worf. Also features excellent humor, including some of Bashir and O'Brien's greatest hits.

It's crazy to me that by this point in Star Trek, there have been enough Klingon episodes that it's become a genre all its own. And because it's a genre all its own, that means the genre can be adapted into a comedy, as it is here. That could never have happened back in early TNG. It probably couldn't even have happened (or at least, it wouldn't have worked) back when DS9 first brought Worf into the picture. It's only now, after years and years of a few Klingon episodes a season, that this could ever be an episode, much less a great one.

But it is, and I'm very happy for it. "You Are Cordially Invited..." succeeds by understanding and working well with its characters. There's a strong connection to who these people are and to their history with each other. It's also successful just by being very entertaining and really funny.

Part of the charm of Worf and Jadzia is that they don't really make sense. As Worf puts it, 'she mocks everything, and [he] take[s] everything seriously.' Worf's dedication to tradition stands in contrast to Jadzia's strong individualism and need to be herself outside of a formal structure. But this is what makes them perfect for each other. Worf needs Jadzia to push him to be his own man outside of his culture. Jadzia needs Worf to keep her in check and temper her individual mindset into one of compromise.

Worf is also reckoning, I think, with the fact that he was not always a traditional person. In fact, for most of TNG, he defined himself in contrast to the cultures he was surrounded with. When he was aboard the Enterprise, he was predominantly defined by his Klingon heritage. But when he returned to the Klingon Empire, he was always defined by his Federation values. Now that the Federation and the Klingons are on good terms again, and he is closely working with them, Worf is finally able to define himself as a part of something greater. I think that's why he's so dedicated to following tradition here. For the first time, he can follow tradition and not feel like he's an outsider to the very people he is honoring.

Jadzia, being joined to Dax, also has a strong sense of the power of rituals and traditions. In order to make her own mark on the life of the Dax symbiont, Jadzia has always had to assert herself in broad, bold ways, to confidently display her individual self. It's the only way she is able to hold onto herself with the myriad of other lives and other selves that now lives in her. I think her opposition to tradition stems, in part from this. It also stems from her pride. While Jadzia's confidence has always been one of her best qualities, it does occasionally swing over into pride, especially when in conflict. Here it all comes to a head.

Both Michael Dorn and Terry Farrell do an excellent job of letting us in on these internal struggles. They are bolstered by the strength of JG Hertzler's Martok and his wife, the lady Sirella (Shannon Cochran). Cochran in particular shines as the counterpart to Jadzia's battle of the wills. Her stalwart stubbornness is well communicated, and she has great antagonistic chemistry with Farrell.

I do wish we had gotten to see the moment, however, that Jadzia actually went to Sirella and begged forgiveness. It really feels like the episode needed that beat, and it's jarring to see it just skipped entirely. Ideally, they could also have found a way for her to beg forgiveness in a way that retained her dignity and didn't humiliate her. Maybe they tried and it didn't work, but regardless, the lack of a scene at all is odd.

As I said, the episode is also hilarious. Alexander's bumblings don't work all that well, and Marc Worden seems to be taking a step backward here from his performance in 'Sons and Daughters'. But Bashir and O'Brien are just hitting their stride. Most of what I remembered from this episode was their dismay at the ordeal they were asked to endure. The 'I'm going to kill Worf' scene is up there with anything else the characters have ever done. A true classic.

Strange New Worlds:

After six episodes of the crew in various other places, we're finally back on DS9, and we stayed there the whole episode. I think that was the right move.

New Life and New Civilizations:

We learned a little about Klingon marriage traditions. Most interesting to me was the ceremony itself, and the unique combination of humbling and pride that the tale of the Klingon hearts presented.

Pensees:

-I liked Odo and Kira's little bits, and I liked that they could talk for hours even when they were angry with each other.

-Jake's little bits with Quark here were pretty funny. He couldn't stop himself from sounding like an interviewer.

-The name-drop of Captain Shelby of the Sutherland was intended by the scriptwriter to be Shelby from 'The Best of Both Worlds'. But he had apparently forgotten that there was an agreement with the editor of the Star Trek book line, which said the show would leave the character of Shelby alone. This Shelby is supposed to be male, though, which helps with the coincidence.

Quotes:

Sisko: 'Morning, Major.'
Kira: 'Good morning, Captain.'
Sisko: 'Do you know how much I missed hearing you say that?'
Kira: 'Do you know how much I hated saying "Good morning, Dukat?"'

Martok: 'I had every right to bring you into the family, and she's accepted the fact that there's nothing she can do about it.'
Worf: 'How comforting.'
Martok: 'And they say you have no sense of humor.'

Bashir: 'Miles, it's working. I've had a vision of the future. I can see it so clearly.'
O'Brien: 'What is it?'
Bashir: 'I'm gonna kill Worf. I'm gonna kill Worf. That's what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna kill him.'
The delivery makes this line an all-timer.

Jadzia: 'After 356 years and seven lifetimes, I still lead with my heart.'

5 out of 6 paths of clarity.

---
CoramDeo is a sensitive artist.

1 comment:

Victoria Grossack said...

For a wedding episode, with the usual the-wedding-is-almost-called-off trope, they did this very well. I don't think there's any way they could have gotten the Jadzia-begs-Sirella scene to work, but we can assume she retained some dignity, or Sirella would not have welcomed her during the ceremony.

I loved, absolutely loved, the party scene and Nog's dancing. Dax knows how to have fun!