443. Once More Unto the Breach
FORMULA: Soldiers of the Empire + The Sword of Kahless + Sarek
WHY WE LIKE IT: Kor's end.
WHY WE DON'T: The subplot. Missing effects shots.
REVIEW: John Colicos's last performance as Kor, just a couple years before his death, is a dignified one. Like Sarek, he is a great man who has lived too long and is now losing the very thing that made him relevant in this world. In Kor's case, with memory problems comes the loss of respect as hero worship becomes ridicule. He is a man under siege from both within and without. And though he has Worf as a friend, he's made an enemy out of Martok.
It's interesting to find out here that Martok is a self-made man, not of noble blood or "born to rule", and that while he tries to be petty with the man who caused him dishonor and is at the moment stealing his thunder, he can't find joy in it. And can he really blame his crew for their reaction? Remember how the cast reacted to Kirk in Trials and Tribble-ations? And from Worf's analysis of the Davy Crockett story shows, Klingons believe in heroes (as opposed to gods), and the legend surrounding Kor is a powerful one.
Though arguably, Kor never quite loses his dignity (there's his great line about tasting the fruit of life before it turns bitter), by hijacking Worf's suicide mission and accomplishing the impossible, he takes back his rightful place in the Klingons' heroic pantheon. Even Martok must agree. We never see the battle, which would have been mighty cool (not that the cavalry raids aren't well done), but it does add to the tension and the "mythic" feel of the scene. It's a battle in heaven.
Now, while it's entirely worth it just to watch Colicos, I do think the episode is entirely too much like Soldiers of the Empire, right down to the songs breaking through the hull at the end. Except the crew isn't anywhere near as interesting as in that episode. And then there's the subplot about Quark thinking Dax wants to get back with Worf. Strictly Three's Company level.
LESSON: Respect your elders, but don't let them drive your car.
REWATCHABILITY - Medium: A good performance from Colicos as Kor and a fitting end to his story, but it just seems like we've been down this road before with other aging characters.