Friday, November 18, 2011

A Klingon Afternoon On Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Is "Blood Oath!"

The Good: Interesting plot, Good pace, Excellent character development
The Bad: Technical details glossed over, Some predictability
The Basics: A well-paced story of vengeance and loyalty, "Blood Oath" challenges the viewer with a gripping question and does not let up for the entire episode. And it's violent!

One good struggle deserves another. That seems to be a running theme on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: there is seldom only one enemy to fight. So, amid the rising mystery of the Dominion in the Gamma Quadrant and the destabilizing political climate on Cardassia, comes an episode with Klingons and their conflicts. The Klingons are very specific Klingons and their conflict involves a "Blood Oath."

In "Blood Oath," three ancient Klingon warriors arrive on the station. They are Kor, Koloth and Kang and they hold distinguished ranks and positions in the Klingon Empire. They are also old friends of the late Curzon Dax. They arrive on the station to find Jadzia Dax and to reunite for a mission. It seems, some seventy years ago, the three Klingons were part of an expedition which was hunting a villain known as the Albino. They chased the Albino, but did not catch him and the Albino killed the first born sons of each of the three Klingons. One of those sons was godson to Curzon. Jadzia takes up the promise that the deceased Curzon can't. She vows to join the Klingons on their hunt, for it seems that Kang has found the Albino . . .

The thing is, the plot could have been a major dud. It's a pretty basic premise: someone made a promise and now has to live up to it. The thing is, Dax is sworn to not do things like run off and commit homicide. That's not how the Federation works. It is, however, how Klingons work and here Dax is confronted with a dilemma.

The episode plays it off quite well. It makes it quite clear that Jadzia is a separate being and must act on her own volition. Jadzia makes it clear that though it is Curzon's obligation, she wants to live up to her commitment, that this is still something that is important to her. And the key of the episode is that the area of vengeance is being explored. It's being explored in a human (or Trill, for that's what Dax is) context and in an inhuman (Klingon) one. It takes two different viewpoints and basically asks, "How far can a good person go and still be considered good?"

I won't be the one to ruin that. The thing is, the episode keeps the flow focused tightly on character development and that's why it works. "Blood Oath" succeeds because Dax is so thoroughly explored and the questions being asked are not easy, so the answers she receives are not easy either.

Kor, Koloth and Kang are Klingons from the original Star Trek series. Kor appeared in "Errand Of Mercy," Koloth appeared in "The Trouble With Tribbles," and Kang appeared in "The Day Of The Dove." All of the original actors are reprising their roles. Unfortunately, they are not reprising their original make-up, which begs the questions "Why are Klingons in the original series different from the way they appear in Star Trek: The Motion Picture and beyond?" It's a technical detail but here it smacks the viewer in the face.

"Blood Oath" is a solid episode, focusing intently on a moral dilemma. Very accessible to non-Trek fans.

[Knowing that VHS is essentially a dead medium, it's worth looking into Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Complete Second Season on DVD, which is also a better economical choice than buying the VHS. Read my review of the sophomore season by clicking here!


For other Star Trek episode, movie or DVD set reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2011, 2007, 2002 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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