Star Trek 405: Soldiers of the Empire

405. Soldiers of the Empire

FORMULA: A Matter of Honor + The Sword of Kahless

WHY WE LIKE IT: A pilot for Star Trek: Klingons.

WHY WE DON'T: What? No cool spaceship battle AGAIN?

REVIEW: Adding Martok to the supporting cast gets Worf (and honorary Klingon Dax) into Klingon adventures, but has the "one-eyed giant" lost his nerve after 2 years in a POW camp? Basically, we leave the station for the length of the episode and get a prototype for a Klingon-centric Star Trek (indeed, what a lot of people wanted instead of Enterprise). It wouldn't work without a strong cast and the crew of the "doomed" Rotarran does give us that.

Especially likable is Tavana, in whom Dax finds a sister. Kornan the doomsayer has a lot of presence, and the sarcastic, impertinent Leksit is great fun. Only the blond one (Ortakin) is less than memorable. And of course there's Martok himself, haunted and paranoid, whose behavior is leading his crew to mutiny. Dax has some good scenes, reminiscent of Riker's in A Matter of Honor, and only she can see it coming. Ultimately though, this is Worf's story. The crew doesn't seem too bothered by his dishonor at home, but they probably do think him hokey and something of a poser (when no one picks up his song, this is made obvious).

If Worf cannot join the mutiny easily, it's that he owes Martok, but at the end, he gives Martok his "Warrior's Heart" back in a great sequence where Worf puts Martok's dignity above his own life. His reward is to be allowed to join the House of Martok, an interesting development that side-steps the Klingon problem without once again undoing his "discommendation". Though DS9 is remembered for its flashy ship battles, the Rotarran's is all off-stage, but that's besides the point. Hearing the war song leak into the ship exterior shots is the true climax and satisfaction enough.

LESSON: Failure is fine, so long as you don't survive as well.

REWATCHABILITY - High: The Klingon formula really works!


De said...

It was a nice change of pace to finally see a crew that didn't fit the typical stereotypes we've come to expect from Klingons.

Siskoid said...

As Dax says, they're as varied a species as any.

A truism that hasn't been all that true in the past.

Anonymous said...

Where do I put my name to support the Star Trek: Klingon Chronicles series?

Let's see the ST universe from another angle, and not just the "bubbly, cloy and happy" Federation angle.

Down with root beer! Bring out the Blood Wine!!!!!!!


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