In the twenty-first episode of the fifth season ofÂ Deep Space Nine, Worf and Jadzia accompany General Martok on a complicated mission. Intrigued? Then itâ€™s time for Mark to watchÂ Star Trek.Â
Trigger Warning: For brief discussion of PTSD/trauma
Well, this was a fun one! And by â€œfun,â€ I actually mean â€œincreasingly uncomfortable.â€ While this is certainly not the first episode to deal with Klingon cultural identity in crisis, I appreciated that it was an interesting twist on something weâ€™ve seen a few times acrossÂ The Next GenerationÂ andÂ Deep Space Nine. Here, though, the show inches closer to dealing with the trauma inflicted on people because of the Jemâ€™Hadar. Sure, you could easily view â€œSoldiers of the Empireâ€ as a story about morale in war, but this felt more complicated than that.
At the center of the conflict here is Martokâ€™s own fears of the Jemâ€™Hadar. Given that he was held in captivity for two years by them, heâ€™s far more cautious than most Klingons would ever have been in this mission. In fact, thatâ€™s a prime source of friction. Martok doesnâ€™t even go after an easy kill that poses little risk to anyone. Is taking it safe a practical option? Of course! Martok clings to his mission parameters quite well, he avoids fights with the Jemâ€™Hadar, and he locates the missing ship, the Bâ€™Moth. Technically, he does exactly what heâ€™s supposed to!
But thatâ€™s not really the point, is it? Along the way, the crew of theÂ RotarranÂ have been dealt one horrific blow after another, and Martokâ€™s denial of a victory feels like a personal insult to them. Who can blame them??? If anything, I understood their restlessness and their mistrust towards Martok. Part of that comes from a lack of self-esteem; part of it was due to their own fears; part of it was due to a justified sense of cynicism that surrounded them. So, credit must be given where itâ€™s due. Jadzia was the first person to recognize the maelstrom of negative aspects hanging around the crew. She knew fairly early into this episode that this was a recipe for disaster. Worf, on the other hand, had put Martok on a pedestal and refused to examine his role critically, which only provided more fuel for this inevitable fire.
Seriously, some sort of fight was inevitable, and Iâ€™m surprised that Kornan didnâ€™t outright kill someone. HE SURE WANTED TO. (Also, now I know where I recognized Rick Worthy: he was Simon onÂ Battlestar Galactica! That voice is ICONIC, yâ€™all. Wasnâ€™t he also onÂ Supernatural?) Like I said: Jadzia deserves a lot of the credit for keeping this sinking ship together long enough for Worf to save it in the end. JADZIA FOR PRESIDENT.
Though I gotta hand it to Worf, too. Coming up with the idea to challenge Martok and then (believably) letting him win was a brilliant way to allow him to regain his former glory, to get the rest of the crew to rally around him, and to pushÂ everyoneÂ into a more aggressive mindset. Well, aggressive with a goal in mind: rescue the Klingons and defeat the Jemâ€™Hadar ship. Once again, Worf demonstrates his willingness to sacrifice himself or his honor to do what he finds right. Itâ€™s not just a very Klingon thing to do, given that heâ€™s able to see a bigger picture; you can see human ethics playing a part in who he is now. I admit that â€œSoldiers of the Empireâ€ made me think about the Worf I saw in the early seasons ofÂ The Next Generation, and itâ€™s rewarding to do so. Heâ€™s changed aÂ lotÂ since then, and the fact that heâ€™s now in a romantic relationship â€“ one that we actually get to see! â€“ is just further proof that heâ€™s a different person. A VERY LOVING PERSON, I MIGHT ADD.
This was a solid episode. Bravo,Â Deep Space Nine.
The video for â€œSoldiers of the Empireâ€ can be downloadedÂ here for $0.99.
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