Jammer's Review

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"Blood Oath"

***1/2

Air date: 3/28/1994
Written by Peter Allan Fields
Directed by Winrich Kolbe

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

Back when Dax was Curzon Dax, he became friends with some Klingons while serving his diplomatic duty. Later, those Klingons fell into discord with a shady character known only as "The Albino." The Albino swore vengeance upon the first born of each of the Klingons—and kept his promise, killing the infants with a deadly virus. Among the murdered was Curzon's godson. Along with the three Klingons, Curzon took a blood oath to avenge the deaths of the children. Now reunited on DS9, the three Klingons, Kor (John Colicos), Kang (Michael Ansara), and Koloth (William Campbell), find Jadzia, who must now struggle with the moral dilemma of keeping her oath and helping kill the Albino, or sticking to her nonviolent Federation values.

"Blood Oath" is an irresistibly entertaining hour of Trek that has two levels and works splendidly on both of them. On one side, it's a lively warrior tale with lots of believable Klingon culture. The three old Klingons (reprising TOS roles from decades earlier) are always a pleasure to watch. In particular, Colicos' turn as Kor, the lighthearted of the bunch, is a joy, and has some wonderful scenes. The other side of the episode is Jadzia's dilemma, which takes on surprisingly deep and serious power—especially in a probing scene where Kira pulls Dax aside and offers some insightfully solemn words about killing. Difficult as it may seem, Fields' even-handed teleplay skillfully weaves the pulse-pounding glory of battle together with the negative connotations of violence—resulting is a very entertaining and interesting episode.

The plot moves along nicely and plausibly, the characterizations are flawless, and the stylized action scene in the final act features an impressive scope. I think Jadzia gets off a little easy in not having to make the final choice of whether or not to kill the Albino (Bill Bolender), but the wordless coda where she returns to DS9 to find a scornfully silent Sisko and Kira is beautifully done.

Previous episode: Profit and Loss
Next episode: The Maquis, Part I

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15 comments on this review

Brian - Sun, Aug 10, 2008 - 7:24pm (USA Central)
Just on Blood Oath. Doesn't anyone else find it hard to sympathise with Jadzia's dilemma about killing the albino when she kills about 10 henchmen to get to him?
Kip Russell - Thu, Mar 4, 2010 - 11:17pm (USA Central)
The scene in "Blood Oath" between Jadzia Dax and Kang where she 'plays the same trick on him' is one of the best in Star Trek.
Picard J. - Thu, May 3, 2012 - 5:03pm (USA Central)
Fantastic episode. My favorite from the second season.
Jeffrey Bedard - Sun, Jul 29, 2012 - 5:39pm (USA Central)
I love TREK, TOS most of all so this is one of my favorite DS9 episodes for the obvious reason: Kor, Koloth and Kang on screen together.

And being a TOS fan I really only have one complaint with this episode: how do you have an episode guest starring the three main TOS Klingon warriors and not have a Kirk reference. I would have loved to see a scene where the three of them are comparing Kirk war stories.
LastDawnOfMan - Thu, Aug 9, 2012 - 7:07pm (USA Central)
If you think about it those paid bodyguards could have been innocent, honest employees with wives, children, mothers. Oh, wait, no, I forgot, they were wearing helmets, with reflective strips over the eyes so they couldn't see crap. So nevermind -- as long as they're faceless it's all good. Slaughter away.
Moegreen - Wed, Sep 26, 2012 - 5:38pm (USA Central)
I have to disagree with the score for this episode. I really didn't find it interesting on any level. It was the 2nd episode I ever saw of DS9. Luckily I stuck with the series in spite of it. 'The Wire' is what got me hooked.
Jay - Thu, Dec 27, 2012 - 4:45pm (USA Central)
I found it strange that a Klingon would have humans guarding his grounds.
Peremensoe - Wed, Feb 6, 2013 - 5:28am (USA Central)
I don't think the Albino was a Klingon (non-canon sources may disagree). Whether he was or not, he certainly loathed Klingon "filth" and would not have employed them.
Kotas - Tue, Oct 22, 2013 - 4:50pm (USA Central)

A decent episode and a refreshing break from symbiont-focused Dax epiosdes.

5/10
Jack - Sat, Dec 28, 2013 - 7:10pm (USA Central)
So if we assume that the forehead ridge problem is "real" rather than just a wardrobe improvement (and Enterprise, stupidly, has made it medically canon). are we to assume that Koloth, Kang, and Kor all had forehead reconstruction surgery?
J. - Tue, Dec 31, 2013 - 8:18pm (USA Central)
It's not clear if Dax kills anyone - they all seem like nonlethal takedowns - unlike the ones the Klingons score.
Moonie - Wed, Apr 9, 2014 - 2:32pm (USA Central)
Boring.

I find the glorification of archaic warrior cultures just as annoying as the glorification of the "simple life".

Yanks - Sun, Jun 29, 2014 - 5:57pm (USA Central)
I've always loved this episode.

The performances by John Colicos as Kor, Michael Ansara as Kang and William Campbell as Koloth were just outstanding. Outstanding actors reviving outstanding parts.

Love the humor injected throughout the episode.

I'm not sure I agree with Sisko's argument with Jadzia. If someone had slain Jake when he was a young boy Sisko would have been doing the same thing.

Good on her for completing Curzon's blood oath.

I also like how she made significant contributions to this quest. She just didn't show up and swing a bat'leth.

I do agree that this was a big step for Jadzia. This was no easy decision. Taking someone’s life is no joke. Even if it's a child murderer.

The ending in ops was done to perfection.

A 4 star episode IMO.
Filip - Tue, Nov 4, 2014 - 5:12pm (USA Central)
I realize that Star Trek is in part supposed to be a family show, but the lack of blood in battle scenes always bothered me since it takes away from the realism. I also found the part where Jadzia says "she's lost and looking for a tennis field" unnecessary because it is trying to funny in a scene which is supposed to do the exact oposite.

Apart from that, a good episode which I enjoyed watching. The final scene was superb.
Dusty - Sat, Nov 8, 2014 - 3:22am (USA Central)
This is the episode that brought me back to DS9, years after I caught glimpses of the show in its original run. As soon as I saw Odo and Quark in the first scene the good memories started to flow.

Terry Farrell's limits as an actress are clear, but her physical presence and skill are impressive in the battle scenes. The returning Klingon actors are excellent. Jadzia having to convince each of them in turn to bring her along is very smartly written.

The Albino doesn't get as much depth or history as I would like, but the purpose of the episode is clear: for the old warriors to go out fighting, and that they do. The integrity of Jadzia's character is preserved when she is unable to kill a man who is not fighting back, but her participation in the mission still lends her much-needed depth, and the ending scene where her colleagues look at her differently--Sisko cold and accusing, Kira disappointed yet understanding--speaks volumes. A poignant and thrilling episode that stands out as one of Season 2's best.

As of 2014, all three of the Klingon actors are no longer with us: Michael Ansara (Kang) passed away last year at age 91, William Campbell (Koloth) in 2011 at age 87, and John Colicos (Kor) in 2000 at age 71.

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