Star Trek 360: The Way of the Warrior

360. The Way of the Warrior

FORMULA: The Trouble with Tribbles + Redemption + The Search

WHY WE LIKE IT: Worf! The battles! Garak vs. the Klingons! The new title sequence!

WHY WE DON'T: The needless holosuite sequence.

REVIEW: This is it. The episode where everybody ELSE came on board Deep Space 9. And yes, I'm talking about the audience. Whether the Klingons are acting on a real need to go back to the old ways, on paranoia about Cardassia having been taken over by the Dominion, or because THEY'RE being manipulated by the Founders, it hardly matters. They've fully migrated from TNG, and they've brought Worf with them. And face it, the Klingon arc was the most "DS9" thing about TNG. They probably belong here, in the more ethically complex, multi-cultural corner of the Trek universe. With them comes an operatic, epic vibe which starts off the season well.

The addition of Worf to the crew is the most important change, but there are others. Some are cosmetic, like more relaxed hairstyles for Dax and Kira, a shaved head for Sisko, and oh my lord, that new opening sequence! The station is now busy rather than a floating objet d'art, wonderfully so, and the music drives it a lot more. Some changes tie into the more military feel of the show, such as the station's new (and very cool) weapons systems, and the Defiant's ablative armor (losing shields doesn't mean you're dead anymore).

But yeah, it's Worf we've got our eyes on. Thankfully, it's more than a casting stunt, though it is that too judging from some meta-dialogue about TNG (how there was nothing they couldn't do, how those were good years, but they're over now, and how DS9 is here to stay - it's nothing I personally need to hear, though O'Brien snickering at holodeck malfunctions is worth a smile). DS9 has been very good about focusing on character development, so Worf immediately gets to interact with the cast and he has a unique relationship with each of them. Like Sisko in Emissary, he's on the cusp of an important career decision. Then there's the uneasy camaraderie with O'Brien, sparks flying between him and Dax, severe distaste for Quark, and Primmin-like antagonism with Odo. Worf was a great character whenever the Klingons were around, but often missed the mark (quite literally) when they weren't. Now they are, but hopefully he can stay cool even in Klingon-light episodes. In The Way of the Warrior, he's singing songs, getting drunk to get sensitive information, calling Gowron on his targ crap, getting Martok (a fearsomely cool new character) into his quarters, and fighting hand to hand like some kind of shaolin monk! And when there's a lull, you can always count on him for deadpan humor ("nice hat").

Not to say there aren't moments for everyone else. While Dax trying to drag Kira to the holosuites is pretty weak, you've got Quark comparing the Federation to root beer, Odo and Garak having that lunch they promised each other in The Die Is Cast, the tailor making some cutting remarks at Klingons that should never recover from them, Dax and Sisko betting on Dukat's ingratitude, Bashir organizing triage before the final battle, Odo expecting a whole opera on his death at the hands of the Klingons, the crew allowing Garak to overhear a briefing while measuring Sisko for a suit, and some very sweet romantic moments between Sisko and Kasidy Yates (despite the red herring of grooming her to be a changeling).

Character moments are what I take away from the episode, even though the story's good too, working the Klingons into the ever-shifting political landscape of DS9. To keep things exciting, there's a good ship battle for the Defiant, and an awesome one for the station with tons of ships (including everything from a new Klingon ship to the old K'tinga class!), and savage boarding action (Odo doesn't NEED a stinkin' weapon!). An enthusiastic performance for Gowron seals the deal.

LESSON: The blood will NOT tell.

REWATCHABILITY - High: At twice the running time, The Way of the Warrior can afford to mix quieter character scenes with slam-bang action and shocking reveals. Worf is ably used to guide TNG fans through the world of DS9, and with everything going on, I dare say it did the job of hooking people back to Trek after its parent show ended.


Matthew Turnage said...

I have to disagree with you on the new opening title sequence. While I like the visuals, I don't care for the updated theme. The faster tempo sucks all the grandeur out of it, in my opinion.

Gowron is great in this episode. I love those eyes!

De said...

While I initially didn't like the addition of Worf at the time, I appreciated what appeared to be a conscious decision to not make DS9 "the Worf show."

Regarding Odo's non-use of weapons, I asked Mr. Auberjonois about this at a convention. His answer was that it makes no sense for a shapeshifter to use one when he can become one.

Siskoid said...

Matt: I like both for different reasons.

Gowron, the man who does not easily forive... OR FORGET!

De: Makes perfect sense, and only rarely has he been shown with a phaser in his hand. Judging from his savage fight with the Klingons in this episode, he doesn't seem to even become a weapon. I'm guessing he makes his fists super-dense.

LiamKav said...

I agree with what Phil Ferrand pointed out in the DS9 nitpicker guide... I love the call-back to The Emmisary with the whole "5,000 photon torpedoes" line.


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