Star Trek 367: The Sword of Kahless

367. The Sword of Kahless

FORMULA: Birthright + Rightful Heir + Blood Oath + Lord of the Rings

WHY WE LIKE IT: Kor's back. Dax takes no prisoners. The beautiful sword.

WHY WE DON'T: Toral? Is that the only Duras we have left now?

REVIEW: Some have compared this one to Indiana Jones, but the quest for the holy grail transcends that specific film. If anything, The Sword of Kahless reminded me of Lord of the Rings, with its artifact whispering sweet nothings into the heroes' ears. If it's true that anything the Klingons touch becomes epic, then Kor is one of those who makes it happen. His stories are grandiose, his ambitions no less so. And there's great charm in the character. I love how he justifies his spilling the beans to Worf: "He guessed!" And when at odds with Worf, he is no less witty, commenting that Worf's verse in the Song of the Sword would be "And Worf came along." Ouch.

Worf goes from admiring this great hero (which explains, if you want it to, why he wore Kor's TOS sash in the first season of TNG), to loathing him for the poser he is. It's hard to lose a childhood hero. Of course, part of the conflict is due to the Sword's influence. It is very ambiguous whether the Sword actually has mystical properties (which is possible in DS9) or if Worf's dark ambitions really come from inside. It may be easier to believe the former, but if you look at the evidence of how Worf has been at the center of Klingon politics for the better part of 8 years now, it's not that hard to believe in the latter. He's a man of destiny, a destiny as yet unrealized, but not necessarily out of reach.

In the middle, there's Dax, and she's in top form. She's used to keeping Kor in check, but now it's an unreasonable Worf as well. And they're trying to kill each other through the second half of the episode. I love her standing up to them Klingon-style and telling them to be quiet. And when that fails, she just shoots them.

As for the villains, it's Toral, what can I say. A different, older actor, but not much of a splash. In a way, it's nice to continue the Duras rivalry, but at the same time, they could have more more with it than simply using a name we recognize. His Lethean goon is kind of fun though, with his battle style limited to getting his hands on either side of someone's head. And he certainly takes a few knocks before getting felled by the Sword.

The final fate of the Sword has epic connotations that keep it from being a cheat, but it was a gorgeous object while it lasted.

LESSON: My home is your home. My precious is MY precious.

REWATCHABILITY - Medium-High: The tepid villains and collapsing ledge runarounds are background fluff for the real story - Kor and Worf vying for a great destiny. Great performances that certainly excuse whatever meddling with Worf's basic character you might decry.