417. You Are Cordially Invited...
FORMULA: Haven + The House of Quark
WHY WE LIKE IT: The bachelor and bachelorette parties.
WHY WE DON'T: I guess Alexander had to be there.
REVIEW: As a character-driven detente after an intense storyline, this episode isn't unlike TNG's Family, but way funnier. It celebrates at once the return to the station and Worf and Jadzia's wedding. And while there's the inevitable falling out between the two lovers, there's a sense, much like in Fascination, that no harm will be done here. It's comedy in the Shakespearean sense, and quite amusing even in the smaller scenes (such as Jake "selling" a book, the quotation marks attracting Quark's contempt). It's in that spirit that Kira and Odo make up, but it's perhaps too bad that it's done backstage, a little too much like a reset button.
Most amusing of all are the bachelor and bachelorette parties. Worf is from a culture whose bar mitzvah involves pain sticks, so the boys' belief that his party will be a grand orgy is probably mistaken. The trials actually in store for them are painful and sadistic, which brings out the best in Sisko and the whiners in Bashir and O'Brien. Their antsiness at the chance to finally pummel Worf is great. Of course, the whole thing is undermined by Alexander's slapstick, but a happy Alexander is more palatable than a sad one.
While Worf's closest male friends are going through seven kinds of pain, Dax's party is sheer pleasure. Staged like a real party, full of improvised dances (Nog's great) and mayhem, there's a delicious contrast to the events underscoring the same in the characters. Dax's hangover is hilarious as well, and if you've ever had a fight while hungover, you know exactly where it's all heading. Alert viewers will also spot the mention of a Captain Shelby, meant to be from The Best of Both Worlds, though as a fan of the New Frontier books, I prefer to think of this as someone else with the same name, or else she got a battle commission for a short while.
Though we'd seen a bat'leth wedding in The House of Quark, Worf's has all the trimmings so we get more insight into Klingon culture. Martok's shrewish wife Sirella is a great opponent for Dax, the latter getting some sweet revenge by retconning Sirella's family history. The episode also teaches us that while only men serve on the High Council, the Great Houses are basically run by women. The ceremony (precipitated by Alexander's departure, which at least explains the absence of the Enterprise crew and his human parents) is rather beautiful, retelling the story (a staple of most Klingon rituals) of how two Klingon hearts joined together to destroy the gods (we already knew they were dead, now we know how).
LESSON: Most Klingon men have a subscription to Bride magazine.
REWATCHABILITY - High: Worf's wedding is a Big Event, like all things Worf, and it's commendably done with both respect and humor. You'll chuckle to yourself and might even get misty-eyed.