Jammer's Review

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"Let He Who Is Without Sin..."

zero stars

Air date: 11/11/1996
Written by Robert Hewitt Wolfe & Ira Steven Behr
Directed by Rene Auberjonois

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"Do not hug me." — Worf to Bashir

Nutshell: Bad. Very bad. In fact, abysmal.

Well, I didn't think it was possible, but with "Let He Who Is Without Sin..." DS9 has managed to displace "Fascination" as the series' worst installment. In fact, this is among the worst episodes of Trek ever filmed—it even rivals Voyager's "Threshold" from last year. I'm just glad "Let He Who Is Without Sin..." has so little to do with anything that its degree of badness doesn't have any long-term effects on the rest of the series.

The "story," such as it's called, is something I would probably expect to see on Baywatch. It serves as little more than filler between shots of people hanging around the beach. It's so ineptly written and meaningless that I have trouble even thinking about it without having a sudden desire to queue the tape to the beginning of the episode and recording C-SPAN for an hour. It's hard to believe that Ira Steven Behr and Robert Hewitt Wolfe of all people could come up with such mindless, lobotomized drivel. This show, more than anything else, resembles a very cruel joke on the audience and the series.

Whenever an atrocity like this episode happens (as rarely as it is), it makes me wonder: How in the world could things go so wrong? Didn't someone connected with the show ever step back and look at what they were making—and realize how bad their product was and try to fix it before it was too late? Considering how much a team effort an episode of DS9 is, it's very hard to see how the vast number of checks and balances could go so wrong.

Just as I posed in my review of "Threshold" last season, I pose here the question: What the hell were they thinking when they made this?

The teaser opens as Dax announces to Sisko and Odo her plans to go with Worf to Risa, that renowned pleasure planet. As mentioned three times in as many minutes, Worf and Dax "have much to discuss" while there. Worf is not happy with how lightly Dax takes their relationship. Dax thinks he needs to lighten up. Worf finds himself even more annoyed when he discovers that Bashir, Leeta (Chase Masterson), and Quark will be coming along. This teaser is not nearly as funny as it wants to be. (Strangely enough, though, it's probably the most watchable sequence in the show.)

Once the characters get to Risa the show proceeds ever-so-rapidly downhill. Most of act one is wasted on some of the dullest, drawn-out discussion about a Trek relationship I've ever heard. (It's also horrendously characterized, as Worf goes from a state of "we should just forget it and leave" to "oh, okay, we'll stay" in the time it takes Dax to remove one more article of clothing. Ugh. Not funny, guys; just plain insulting.)

A majority of the episode's lines are spoken with such bemused and passive detachment by the actors that I began to wonder if even they were doubting the certainty of the teleplay. Really, I'm not sure who to blame for the lackadaisical performances. The material is so off-kilter that I don't know what director Auberjonois or any of the actors possibly could've done with it. Still, knowing that hardly helps countless scenes where Farrell, Dorn, Siddig, Masterson, and Shimerman come off looking pretty awful.

Near the end of act one the show finally begins to develop a plot of sorts, as the episode introduces an "essentialists" group led by a man named Fullerton (Monte Markham) who is determined to show the people of Risa how destructive their indulgence in artificially created luxury life truly is. Unfortunately, his speeches are all based on nonsensical arguments, as he condemns those who use replicators, holodecks, and weather-controlling devices as lazy and dangerous to society.

Well, okay, Risa is artificial. So what? It's a paradise vacation planet, for crying out loud. Vacationing is a simple human indulgence. For Fullerton to infer a causal relationship between vacationing and an impending downfall of the Federation is such a stretch that I couldn't help but feel cynical about the premise's whole idea. Every facet of Fullerton and his lame soapbox preaching manages to insult my intelligence. Why? Because the episode seems to want so bad to make Fullerton's ideas add up to some allegorical point, but it's so misguided that I was angry at the smug notion that it actually thought it was actually about any real comparable issue.

And Worf buying into Fullerton's cause is so ridiculous that it makes him look like a stubborn, gullible fool. (After shutting down the weather control grid he says, "If Federation citizens cannot handle a little bad weather, how will they handle a Dominion invasion?" Under serious scrutiny this has little persuasive power, but the episode assumes we'll just take it at face value. I don't buy it.) But wait—he isn't really doing any of this because he believes it, he's doing it because he's mad at Dax and wants to work out some anger by (literally) raining on everyone else's parade. And Worf's about-face at the end of the episode where he confronts Fullerton (who punches Worf for absolutely no reason whatsoever) is so horrendously handled that it's appalling. It seems to want to say "Look at Worf—he can lighten up and be a badass all at once!" Does this strike only me as way beyond the sensible actions of Worf's character? Please, no more.

While we're on the topic of characters, let's talk about Worf and Dax. "Let He Who Is Without Sin..." took the relationship between them and did exactly what I hoped we wouldn't see as a follow-up to "Looking for Par'mach in All the Wrong Places"—turned it into a series of predictable cliches and trite conversations; a mishmash of soap opera melodrama and some of the worst dialog I've ever heard Behr and Wolfe pen. (The argument about Jadzia's spots itching was particularly atrocious.) When "Par'mach" aired, I really hoped that the writers would follow up on it intelligently. Didn't happen here. At the very least, I suppose I can take comfort in that they didn't decide to end their relationship here—that way they can at least try again, hopefully (oh, my, I hope) with more success.

I realize that Worf and Dax are different in the way they see the world, and I like that aspect of them. What I do not like is the bipolar, one-dimensional stubbornness forced by the writers onto each of them used merely to create lame dialog that shoves the characters even further into a static state of non-development, only so that a contrived, three minute speech in the closing minutes can solve the characters' problems and end it on a happy note. No, thank you very much. (Worf's somber speech in and by itself wouldn't be awful, I suppose, but the context sure is bad. It comes so far out of left field that it feels positively false.)

Turning to the sideshow, Bashir, Leeta, and Quark simply came off looking silly in scenes that had little to no story-building value. Their scenes were nothing audaciously bad like much of the rest of the show, but nothing to be thrilled about, either.

Oh, yeah, and the Adrandis character (almost forgot about her) is a complete waste of time. Don't get me wrong—Vanessa Williams is a good sport (I thought she worked just fine in Eraser), but her character here makes such pointless appearances and is used for such meaningless dramatic effect (unless you count the contrived scene where Worf happens upon Adrandis giving Dax a massage as dramatic) that I would've rather opted for no character here at all. The fact that the preview last week went out of its way to mention that Williams would be guest-starring makes the entire notion little more than a ratings ploy with zero payoff—and that sure doesn't make me feel better.

I was actually embarrassed watching this show. I wanted to crawl under my chair and hide. I kept hoping that at some point the show would get better, but it didn't—it rambled for a long while and then ended. Once this review is complete I will have a new goal: to expunge this episode from my memory and, if possible, from the entire Star Trek universe itself.

There are only three things I found remotely interesting while watching this show: (1) Terry Farrell in those revealing outfits (not an intellectual observation, to be sure), (2) a one-minute trailer for First Contact (not part of the episode), and (3) the preview for next week, which includes Garak for the first time this season and looks interesting (ditto). Note that none of these are in any way useful for a critical analysis of "Let He Who Is Without Sin..."

I think I've covered everything that is (or, rather, that isn't) worth covering. "Let He Who Is Without Sin..." is a viewing experience I have no desire to repeat, unless I get the opportunity to be on MST3K the week they happen to pick it as their target. (Oh, wait... that show was canceled. Never mind.) I'm sure DS9 will bounce back with something infinitely better next week—I just hope I'll have recovered by then.

Previous episode: Trials and Tribble-ations
Next episode: Things Past

Season Index

76 comments on this review

Paul - Thu, Mar 20, 2008 - 3:27pm (USA Central)
I think two things are missing from this review.

Firstly, how embarrasingly cringe-worthy Worf's "soccer speech" was.

Secondly, Dr.Bashir has absolutley no right wearing any sort of singlet/tank-top on TV. His skinny body is disgusting. Nearly as bad as the tank-top itself. Takes one back to the fashion crimes of early TNG.

I'm glad I watched this episode when no one else was around.
Paul - Thu, Mar 20, 2008 - 7:30pm (USA Central)
Wow, a Paul halfway across the world rated this episode last night as I rewatched this drek in Australia.

This episode is fantastic, how can you not like such scenes:
* The soccer speech
* her spots itching when she drinks juice, that she will drink because she wants to
* Worf going on about the beautiful Gamma Quadrant space was the most beautiful thing he has seen until Terry Farrell in a swimsuit
* Worf being jealous of a man with a transparent skull, and Vanessa Williams.
* ANYTHING that Monte Markham does/says - he doesn't belong in this.
* Odo and Sisko giggling about Worf and Dax breaking each other's bones when fu#%ing
* Leeta on the shuttle sitting on Bashir's lap saying the two horgons 'like' each other.

OK that's a joke. Those scenes all lend to creating one of the worst episodes of Trek ever made. At least Worf never put on those gold shorts. And if you (Paul) had a problem with Bashir's tanktop, don't watch 'Rivals'.
Paul - Wed, May 7, 2008 - 8:12pm (USA Central)
This episode is so bad, not even a drinking game can save it. Question: did Vanessa Williams just gleefully admit to fu#%ing Curzon Dax to death??
Not Paul - Sun, Jun 1, 2008 - 4:36pm (USA Central)
Horrible. This was perhaps my first time watching this ep since it first aired (I may have watched a rerun at some point) and it had almost nothing to redeem it.

Well, okay, two things: I actually did think Williams' line about death by jamaharon(sp?) was pretty funny, particularly if we were to take it as fact. Probably exactly the way a Lothario like Curzon would want to go out and amusing to juxtapose with the somber flashback in "Emissary" of Jadzia receiving the Dax symbiont from a very serene Curzon. Also, in retrospect, I got a genuine laugh when Leeta said she'd been thinking about someone else. The payoff about how Rom's supposed sex appeal really didn't work, but, knowing how their relationship will play out, the *anticipation* both of Leeta naming Rom and of Quark and Bashir's reaction is actually pretty priceless.
Blue - Tue, Mar 17, 2009 - 8:08am (USA Central)
Coming right after Trials and Tribble-ations, this probably marks the worst 2-episode run in all of DS9. At least this did kinda explore Dax-Worf and attempt to justify what the hell they see in each other (I still don't buy it, but whatever, you can't choose who you love blah blah). And I'm glad they acknowledge that Worf is the most boring character in Star Trek, and perhaps all of television. "OMG HONOR! OMG DISCIPLINE! OMG AM I KLINGON OR HOO-MAHN?!" There, that sums up Worf's every interaction.

"The Essentialists" plot was ridiculous; I wish they had just gone further and made it a total Christian parody. Might have squeezed a few laughs. Leeta's Rom-fatuation did make me smile though.
Dimitris Kiminas - Wed, Jun 17, 2009 - 5:12am (USA Central)
I'd go for the following ratings breakdown:

We start with a possible: +4 stars
Intelligence-Insulting plot: -2 stars
Characters out of character: -1 star
Unsuitable/Unutilized guests:-1 star
All comedic attempts unfunny:-1 star
Earthquake-o-matic satelites:-1 star
Dax in a swimsuit: +1 star
Net total -1 star

Jammer you must introduce negative stars and award one to this episode! :)
Paul - Wed, Jun 17, 2009 - 11:44pm (USA Central)

I'd say that it's very kind of you to start out with a possible 4 stars.

In my book, it should start at Zero and have to earn any stars it gets.

Oh, and -1 for Bashir's singlet
Jonathan - Mon, Aug 31, 2009 - 9:27pm (USA Central)
I liked this episode. I like silly episodes every once in a while. I'm in the minority here, but I'd watch this episode again just to see Leeta play with the two statues on Bashir's lap. Hilarious.
Jay - Fri, Sep 4, 2009 - 9:53pm (USA Central)
This episode isn't great but it's hardly the outrage it's being made out to be.
Jake - Thu, Feb 25, 2010 - 4:22pm (USA Central)
Well, then, the same can be said for TNG's "Shades of Grey"
Nic - Sun, Feb 28, 2010 - 9:54pm (USA Central)
I hated this episode. Hated hated hated hated hated this episode. Hated it. Hated every simpering stupid vacant audience-insulting moment of it. Hated the sensibility that thought anyone would like it. Hated the implied insult to the audience by its belief that anyone would be entertained by it.

Though I actually think that Worf's story about his childhood added a dimension to his character and helped to explain why he was so uptight all the time. I just wish he had said all that in another episode.
Jammer - Mon, Mar 1, 2010 - 6:56pm (USA Central)
^ -- Roger Ebert, "North" review, 1994
Charlie - Mon, Apr 12, 2010 - 9:53am (USA Central)
It's episodes like this that gave DS9 it's not-so-endearing nicknames of "Melrose Space" or Deep Space 90210."
Nic - Wed, Apr 28, 2010 - 10:25am (USA Central)
Yes, well, sorry for quoting, but I could never have come up with something that good on my own!
christian - Wed, Oct 27, 2010 - 1:26pm (USA Central)
I think you should have given the episode at least half a star just for those revealing outfits of Dax :) But otherwise I agree, absymal episode of an otherwise fine season of an otherwise fine (my favorite) Trek series
Dizzle - Mon, Nov 22, 2010 - 3:16am (USA Central)
What is a whore-gun and where can I get one?
Max - Mon, Dec 27, 2010 - 2:12am (USA Central)
As a rule, I always assume that creative people begin every endeavor with the best of intentions. I avoid the work "hack" for just this reason. I believe that no matter how ultimately misguided the final product may turn out to be, the creators actually believed at the conception stage that this would be a product that someone, somewhere, could conceivably find interesting.

However, I don't doubt there are times when the script is written, the stages are built, and the actors are assembled, that television creators come to recognize their appalling lapse in good judgement, only to realize that it's too late to turn back now. This, I suspect, was one of those moments.

Worf is a tricky character. Given his inclination to drone on about HONOR, Worf could easily drift into self parody. With this story, which I can only describe as "Worf joins the Tea Party", crosses that line. (Seriously, these Essentialists would look right at home in the 21st century screaming about death panels).

Looking back on Captain's Holiday, very little time is actually spent on Risa itself. Picard and Vash actually ditch Risa early on for the caves. This is because the writers of that episode were not actually all that interested in Risa as much as the idea of a Romancing the Stone style romantic adventure starring Picard. Risa was part of the gag, but it wasn't the whole show. A little Risa goes a long way. It wasn't a joke funny enough to carry the weight of an entire episode. It didn't need to be revisted.
Jared - Sat, Feb 5, 2011 - 8:40pm (USA Central)
This episode and ENT's Two Days And Two Nights really are the one-two punch to Risa.
John - Thu, Apr 14, 2011 - 12:32am (USA Central)
I agree with you about many episodes Jammer, but this is one few exceptions. I actually found this episode entertaining. It wasn't perfect by any means but I'm not on the hate bandwagon that many people are about this one.
Some Dude - Sat, Apr 16, 2011 - 8:39pm (USA Central)
John - you have to be kidding. How could you possibly stand this being done to these characters? It's not only a very, very bad episode - it also insults every true fan by ridiculing every major character that appears in it. And not in a good way.

Shame on the producers for this one!
Van Patten - Wed, Jun 1, 2011 - 5:55am (USA Central)

I take your point, given the need probably to reconstruct the 'Risa' sets, but surely they must run the script through some kind of checking process. I can recall reading this review and watching the episode subsequently purely because it was the first episode ever given zero stars (Threshold at the time of reading had a half star and was later revised down). When the same rating was given in Season 6 to 'Profit and Lace' I refused to watch it , and it remains to this day the only DS9 episode I have not seen. I wish I had shown the same gumption when it came to this piece of garbage.

Appallingly written, badly acted and hideously misconceived on every level. Not just the 'Fullerton preaching' but every aspect of Worf's behaviour throughout the episode felt forced , unbelievable and as Jammer puts it so eloquently 'managed to insult my intelligence' - a well deserved zero stars. On subsequent viewings if anything it gets slightly worse. Easily one of the five worst episodes of any Trek incarnation, and in the context of this season such a faux pas that you are tempted to ask the question whether the staff had been on a particularly debauched holiday prior to its production.
Elliott - Tue, Aug 16, 2011 - 10:45pm (USA Central)
Are you all really so blind not to be able to see that every episode of this series contains a very glaring kernel which generates the episode; a philosophical point set against the Roddenberrian Universe.

People have already pointed out that most of the episode is forgettable dribble, but the ideas behind it fall right in line with the progressing philosophy of the show. Yes, it's true that the setting and general writing of the script make the speech about the surrounding empires' view of the Federation seem ridiculous (and in my opinion it is anyway), but the series will go on to essentially prove this point with the Dominion War.

I have hardly seen a DS9 which doesn't seem to be acted from a soapbox; it seems that this time, it annoyed more people than myself, but it's really nothing new.
Janne - Sat, Sep 24, 2011 - 8:24am (USA Central)
I just re-watched this one last night. I vaguely remember not disliking the episode the first time I saw it, but it is, in fact, one of the worst episodes of DS9. On the upside, I think the show needed a Fullerton to preach about innate weaknesses of federation. It's just poorly realized here.

I won't repeat anything about characters being out of character, but the absolutely worst thing and the most damning thing in the episode is the implication of Curzon dying on Risa, by having sex. While there is little doubt Curzon would have enjoyed "sexcavations" on Risa, it is a crime against the character of Curzon and I for one can't fathom just how the writers justified doing this to him.
Krysek - Wed, Oct 26, 2011 - 5:32pm (USA Central)
You guys saved me. Ten minutes in I'm wondering if there is hope but apparently there isn't. I'm feeling gross at this point, so I'll just skip it. Good reviews, I'm sorry if you watched all of it.
tec - Fri, Dec 2, 2011 - 2:27am (USA Central)
Is this ep bad yes very bad...for Trek...but compared to most anything found on TV today this ep is wonderful 4 stars even..

And even then there are a few good points
The set up for the Dominion War as noted above
The set up for Rom and Leeta
The fact that Dax and Worf are not just a one time thing

And for the guy in me
Dax in a one peice
And Leetas revealing scene

There where worse eps of DS9 not many but a few
Chris Freeman - Mon, Feb 20, 2012 - 3:07am (USA Central)
I love that this site has original reviews from the 90s.

Watching this in 2012, the essentialist guy seems more relevant now that we have tea party crazies running around.

And I am very glad someone finally took Worf to task for not actually growing up among Klingons. This was rarely addressed in TNG, he was just the expert on all things Klingon. But in truth, what he knows comes from textbooks and his few excursions into the empire.

Those things could have been a strong 20 minute B-story in a different episode, though, and did not deserve their own show.
Justin - Sun, Mar 25, 2012 - 8:55am (USA Central)
@Elliott, enough with your pseudo-intellectual defense of the "Roddenberrian Ideal" or whatever you want to call it. Gene Roddenberry would have been proud of this episode, OK? It had plenty of things he could identify with - a utopian pleasure planet, scantily clad women, bad dialogue, and a dumb plot.
Chris - Mon, Apr 23, 2012 - 3:16pm (USA Central)
I don't hate this episode. There is something important in there about the appeal of fundamentalist ideas, particularly for people who have had to repress a lot of their natural personality, like Worf. His revelation of killing an opponent at soccer was shocking and a good explanation for his subsequent attempts to maintain iron self-control. The separation ceremony was also an interesting idea.
Elliott - Tue, Apr 24, 2012 - 1:02am (USA Central)
@Justin :

My responses are fast becoming as repetitive as your attacks, but let me just say that I do not espouse a "defence of the Roddenberrian Ideal"; in this review, for example, I pointed out that the show is often built upon a counterargument to that philosophy. The execution in this episode was startlingly terrible, as everyone seems to agree upon, but the ideas behind it were nothing new, which is something I didn't see anyone else post. That's why I said what I said.
Tom - Fri, Apr 27, 2012 - 8:10pm (USA Central)
Why all the hate about this episode? It was a silly episode but it's not the first one in Star Trek. Plus anything with Jadzia in bikini takes at least 2 stars.
Snitch - Tue, May 1, 2012 - 4:45am (USA Central)
This was one of the failed humor episodes. Worf was way out of character but overall it was harmless fluff, so I don't get Jammers hate. This is not crap like Fairhaven of Threshold.
1-1/2 Stars from me.
Jacob - Wed, May 9, 2012 - 7:38am (USA Central)
I would give that episode at least 2 stars, there are worst episodes than this in the series. It was a silly and not humorous (as intented) episode but it doen't hurt the series (unlike some failed humorous episodes in the final season).
The Sisko - Thu, May 24, 2012 - 4:42pm (USA Central)
1,5 stars from me. It's definately not the worst episode in the series (not even close).
Nebula Nox - Sun, Jun 10, 2012 - 12:44am (USA Central)
First, Julian does not look bad at all! However, he was exhausted during the filming because his and Visitor's son was born during it.

Second, while this is far from my favorite episode, the tea party has made it relevant. Unfortunately real life has less of a happy end.

I rather liked how Leeta and Bashir broke up. Very civilized.
Jack - Tue, Jun 19, 2012 - 11:08pm (USA Central)
So does Risa have an off-season? Because even with the weather control system, they have to let it rain periodically or else the planet would be desolate...
Josh G. - Fri, Jun 22, 2012 - 11:24pm (USA Central)
You know, I won't defend this episode, but I've never really disliked it much. More accurate to say that I don't really mind it and find it tolerable in a brain-shut-off sort of way. And I do like the idea if not the execution of the Essentialists because - frankly - the Federation is soft and decadent. This just wasn't the way to raise the point.

I will say that Worf's inability to have a good time isn't a novel aspect of his character - it does all the way back to Redemption Part II at least.
TMLS - Thu, Jun 28, 2012 - 3:22pm (USA Central)
OK, it's not good. But it's no Shades of Gray and it insinuates that whilst Baseball died out football (soccer :P) didn't, so half a star from me.
Ian - Tue, Jul 24, 2012 - 12:15am (USA Central)
Awful, yes,
But the worse part is,, though they want to make Fullerton the bad guy, in the end he WAS right about how soft and weak the Federation has become.
After all, it IS always losing its wars and usually needs some sort of extrordinary help to survive...
Grumpy - Mon, Aug 20, 2012 - 9:24am (USA Central)
Several commenters are pointing to the kernel of a good idea in this heap, namely the Essentialist critique of the Federation. It's a more organic development than, say, the Maquis, which was forced on DS9 externally. Unfortunately, the premise is wasted. I especially hate how Fullerton walks in at the end of Act 1 and explains the entire plot in less than a minute. Also, Worf's behavior is not only out of character, it's unthinkable that a regular character would so casually side with terrorists (cowardly terrorists who only act on a planet so laissez-faire that criminal mischief isn't prosecuted) and be forgiven at the end of the episode.

Likewise, Worf's "soccer speech" is nice in theory, but instead of explaining a fundamental aspect of his character, it's used here to justify his otherwise criminal actions.
Cail Corishev - Tue, Sep 18, 2012 - 11:31am (USA Central)
There could have been a good episode that explored the question of whether too much wealth and comfort leads to corruption and weakness for a society and its inevitable collapse. And DS9 was the only Trek series that could have made that episode. This wasn't it.
William - Fri, Nov 9, 2012 - 4:44pm (USA Central)
Gosh -- I actually give this two stars on Jammer's scale. Definitely not great. But zero stars? They had worse ones in my mind for sure.

I actually like the premise of the episode a lot. And the Essentialists had a good point to make. It was rather silly for Risa to be basking in such mindless pleasure pursuits while there's just been a Klingon war and Dominion war brewing.

I think the show fell short on delivering on the premise, but not in an epically bad way at all.
Shawn Davis - Mon, Dec 17, 2012 - 12:14pm (USA Central)
I agree that this is the worst episode in Star Trek DS9. However, is episode comes off as the Citizen Kane of Star Trek compared to ST: Voyager episode "Threshold" which is the worst trek episode in the history of Star Trek.
David - Sun, Dec 23, 2012 - 11:54pm (USA Central)
I am not defending this episode by any stretch, but I do like to try and understand how something like this could have happened. The idea of people who live in paradise becoming soft and complacent is an interesting one.

Also this quote from Memory-Alpha: 'According to Ira Steven Behr, "the idea was to do a show that would rattle the audience, that would show sexuality and push the envelope about Risa. Once you get past the titillation, is this a lifestyle that people in the 20th century can approve of?"' And there is the seed of some sort of interesting story there, Risa is a very sexually open planet, no doubt there would be groups protesting it. Okay, it's an awful episode, but knowing that there was some sort of thought process involved that clearly got...confused...makes me feel better. I prefer a failed attempt over no attempt at all.

Also I have to defend Bashir's body, plenty of people go for that, in a heroin-chic, emaciated rockstar sort of way. (On second reading that looks like an insult, but I'm serious! It's the foundation of the skinny jeans industry.)
Pete - Sun, Apr 21, 2013 - 11:22pm (USA Central)
This episode is not very memorable. Some of the TOS episodes are far, far worse however - though nostalgia allows us to overlook them.
Patrick - Mon, Apr 22, 2013 - 2:39pm (USA Central)
Risa has given us TNG's "Captain's Holiday", DS9's "Let He Who is Without Sin..." and ENT's "Two Days and Two Nights"; not to mention the lame holodeck interludes during execrable Voyager's third season. I'd be tempted to join a real-life Essentialist Movement to keep Risa from being used in any further Trek incarnations.
Gore - Fri, Jun 7, 2013 - 1:19pm (USA Central)
I cannot but cringe at "Let He Who Is Without Sin", wedged, as it is amid a cluster of truly stellar episodes of DS9.

It's a great shame that Risa was ever depicted on Star Trek. That way, "The Pleasure Planet" would have remained tantalisingly mysterious. Despite the premise of the TV series, I genuinely believe that some areas of the galaxy are better left unexplored. On screen at least.

However, I really like the idea of the Essentialist Movement. I believe that a fake terrorist attack with harmless weapons, just to prove a point about how unprepared for war/hostility the average Federation citizen actually is, and how they can't always trust Starfleet to keep them safe from danger, has great dramatic potential. It would be a wake-up call to every decadent Federation citizen, people who have taken their comfort and security for granted for hundreds of years.

With that in mind, Earth would have made much more sense for a fake terrorist attack / demonstation than Risa.
Ray - Thu, Jun 27, 2013 - 3:09am (USA Central)
So this episode was pretty bad. According to memory alpha the writers wanted to have more skin and sexuality in it, so I can see that making it better. But really, the dialogue was so bad, that it killed it.

But okay, ignoring the lack of sex on a pleasure planet, and the horrible dialogue, I'm still left with one confusing thing:

Why wouldn't Worf and all the other Essentialists get in trouble for messing with the weather grid? I mean, is that okay in the future - to just go around jacking with entire planets weather grids? Seems like something that could potentially injure or kill people, and would be frowned upon, especially by Starfleet...
ProgHead777 - Sun, Jul 28, 2013 - 4:22am (USA Central)
The quote at the top of the page is the best thing about the episode. I chuckled. After that I was expecting an enjoyable fluff/comedy ep but once they get to Risa the whole thing just dives right off a cliff. And that's even before Pat Robertson shows up and puritan Worf decides to join his cult. Really? REALLY? Seriously, how the hell did this episode make it off the page and into production? How the hell did it make it ONTO the page in the first place? What were they thinking?
Elnis - Tue, Aug 20, 2013 - 2:04pm (USA Central)
The only thing that could've saved this episode was if Worf had actually put on those golden bathing trunks.

Just imagine it: "Bay Trek" with Worfelhoff running in slow motion along the beach.

That, at least would've made me laugh.
As it is, this episode makes me cry.
ProgHead777 - Sun, Sep 29, 2013 - 10:21pm (USA Central)
@Elnis, Worfelhoff! LOL!
Kotas - Thu, Oct 24, 2013 - 9:22pm (USA Central)

This is a really bad episode from a plot standpoint, and the characters do some stupid and uncharacteristic things. There are funny things here and there that make it more watchable than some other bad episodes.

eastwest101 - Fri, Nov 15, 2013 - 10:50pm (USA Central)
The script was a creepy, boring, glacial, confused bumbling wince-inducing cringe-worthy steaming hot pile. I enjoy some of the other the silly episodes sometimes myself, but this was a dreadful waste of some decent actors time, and it just got worse and worse.

Pretty much compulsory educational viewing for inexperienced scriptwriters on "what not to do..."

Entire thing should have gone straight to the bin.
Jons - Tue, Feb 4, 2014 - 8:29am (USA Central)
" For Fullerton to infer a causal relationship between vacationing and an impending downfall of the Federation is such a stretch that I couldn't help but feel cynical about the premise's whole idea. Every facet of Fullerton and his lame soapbox preaching manages to insult my intelligence. "

So... You have never seen actual fundamentalist Christians then? These are the people who sue schools because they put Harry Potter in their libraries, say Yoga is Satan entering the soul and that last week's tornado is caused by gay marriage!

I didn't think that episode was that bad, and to be honest, I felt it was pretty realistic that some people would feel like they do. And the struggle Worf goes through is very real, and echoes on a social level what happened on Homefront - sacrificing your paradise to somehow *save* paradise is impossible. If you want paradise, you have to take the risks that go with it.
Dusty - Tue, Feb 4, 2014 - 7:05pm (USA Central)
I thought (hoped) you might be exaggerating, but wow. This episode really was bad. The script was terrible and the acting followed suit. Every scene with Bashir and Leeta was cringe-worthy. The Essentialists were as joyless as the tourists were decadent and frivolous, so I couldn't support either side.

Jadzia in a swimsuit was the one good thing about this. I'm going to do myself a favor and try to forget I ever saw the rest of it.
Vylora - Wed, Feb 26, 2014 - 3:48am (USA Central)
Hey...does anybody remember that internet meme with the image of Picard doing a face-palm?


Zero stars.
Ospero - Sat, Mar 8, 2014 - 1:25am (USA Central)
Huh. When I look over that list of Risa episodes, I begin to wonder whether it was some kind of joke/apology on the writers' part to have the planet burnt to a cinder by the Borg in the "Star Trek: Destiny" book trilogy.

Yeah. Not good.
ES - Sat, Mar 8, 2014 - 3:43pm (USA Central)
Risa was originally supposed to be very, very different. Roddenberry turned it into a sex place. You should look up the Ron Moore/Ira Behr interview on that.
Eddy - Wed, Jun 25, 2014 - 1:55am (USA Central)
"The only thing better than good sci-fi is bad sci-fi"

Is no one else entertained by bad episodes? I like these WAY better than mediocre episodes...Let He Who is Without Sin, Threshold, Sub Rosa, Fair Haven, Spock's Brain etc are terrible, but I can't help but enjoy them!

Bring out the popcorn!

Yanks - Mon, Aug 11, 2014 - 8:24am (USA Central)
Wow. Lots of hate for this one.

Any episode that references soccer can only be a turd. Does anyone believe that Worf played soccer instead of football? :-)

Risa is the modern day brothel, kind of like Switzerland with regard to global politics. They are just neutral. It's the progressive Federation's writing niche to push “no strings attached” sex. Of course Dax used the holo-suite for that all the time.

Fullerton is the religious/moral opposition using any excuse to win/impose their moral beliefs. In this case it’s “security”.

I'm not opposed to Risa, if it's not your cup-o-tea don't go there. The universe is a big place.

How Worf can initially say he is within his prevue to arrest them early in the episode and then side with them is a head scratcher.

Leeta-Bashir ….. snore…

We get Jadzia in a one piece, Quark is funny…. .5 stars for that I guess.
Jack - Mon, Aug 11, 2014 - 12:58pm (USA Central)

Does anyone believe that Worf played soccer instead of football? :-)

Considering he seems to have been raised in what is now Belarus, sure.

When his parents come aboard in Family, it's from "Earth Station Babruysk".
Yanks - Mon, Aug 11, 2014 - 1:50pm (USA Central)
I'm not sure what that has to do with anything. This is the 24th century. Wouldn't a game like Parrises Squares make more sense for a Klingon?
Eddy - Mon, Sep 8, 2014 - 3:10pm (USA Central)
Nah, I think Worf's a Kadis-kot guy myself...
E - Tue, Sep 16, 2014 - 9:42am (USA Central)
This episode surely doesn't deserve the hate.

Yes, it is an obvious throw-away episode. As such, it's a pretty big waste of time that steers too far from the sci-fi genera, but it's not -terrible-.
Del_Duio - Tue, Nov 4, 2014 - 11:03am (USA Central)
This has always been my least favorite DS9 episode. I will forever refer to it as "That one with Vanessa Williams in it." For it to be smack dab in the middle of an otherwise superb season is strange to say the least.

The only Trek episode I can think of offhand that's any worse is that terrible TNG season 5 one with Lwaxana, Alexander, and Worf in a mudbath. Luckily, that one is MUCH MUCH worse than this is.
Robert - Tue, Nov 4, 2014 - 11:10am (USA Central)
It's actually a bit of a shame, because a backstory as to why Worf is a bit of a stick in the mud is actually a really interesting idea, and I don't really object to the added backstory but Worf committing a terrorist act is so far out of character that I just can't forgive this one.
NoPoet - Tue, Nov 11, 2014 - 5:32am (USA Central)
Heh, another review, another weird, self-contradictory rant from Elliot, who clearly hates DS9 and comes here - the home of Trek reviews - to constantly go on about it. I didn't like Sliders from season 3 onwards, it turned into an insulting farce of what it used to be, but I didn't force myself to endure all of it. For feth's sake, I even gave up on season 4, so I've never known how it all turned out. I most certainly wouldn't go onto a Sliders site and post negative reviews of all the episodes, then claim I was a fan.
As for the DS9 episode - I nearly watched it for the first time but there are so many amazing episodes this season that it just isn't worth it. If the episode is as bad as you lot say, I'll end up ripping out all my pubic hair in rage. Terry Farrell is attractive, but I most certainly do not watch Trek for the babes. I watch it because I believe in its message.
Robert - Tue, Nov 11, 2014 - 8:08am (USA Central)
@NoPoet - I like DS9 as much as the next guy, but I think you're going to have to start ripping. This episode is pretty bad. It had a lot of decent ideas and a lot of really poor execution. That said, yay for Dax spots going all the way down!

The killer of this episode is that Worf becomes a terrorist. You just can't fix it after that.
Latex Zebra - Wed, Nov 12, 2014 - 7:06am (USA Central)
@Robert - 'I like DS9 as much as the next guy.'

As long as the next guy isn't Elliot. ;o)
Elliott - Wed, Nov 12, 2014 - 11:26am (USA Central)
Well, don't I feel like a celebrity 'round these parts!
Sonya - Thu, Nov 27, 2014 - 8:51pm (USA Central)
Do you remember Worf's relationship with K'Ehleyr in TNG? Now *that* was chemistry. I just don't find his relationship with Dax to be plausible in any way. And how idiotic was it for Dax to propose vacationing with Worf in Risa anyway? (But by this point, I'm pretty much resigned to the writers turning Dax into an idiot. I'm glad so many people enjoyed her in a swimsuit. I can't remember the last episode in which she was allowed to display her character's formidable intellect. It's like the writers are turning her into Kelly LeBrock from Weird Science. They seem to be working out their adolescent fantasies through Dax's character. K'Ehleyr was strong and sexy. Dax's character has become vapid.)
Impulse - Sun, Nov 30, 2014 - 8:56am (USA Central)
Worf doesn't want Dax to be herself, he thinks she should be a Klingon woman. So what if she has several lifetimes of experiences, Worf will only listen to her if she removes clothes or gets physical with him. Essentially Worf is only interested in Dax for her body, and Dax knows this. Why would Dax stay with him?

Worf goes to a pleasure planet off-duty, wears his starfleet uniform, joins terrorrists and sabotages their facilities. He doesn't deserve to wear the uniform again. In fact, he doesn't want to be in starfleet according to his own philosophy. Over the years he has openly criticized Federation weakness so often it occured to me he would be alot happier if he went to the Klingons.

Then the soccoer accident. I saw a glimmer of hope in this well told recollection of Worf's that explains his restraint. I wondered how many episodes would pass before this was forgotten by the writers like most of the other inconsistencies I have observed, but I had to wait a mere 10 minutes for that to happen. He held a man up by his neck and tossed him across the room, all with Dax on his arm approving. That man could have easily died and it was mere minutes after his heart-felt sob story about killing in his youth!!

I could go into immense detail about Worf and the others but we don't have that kind of time. I will continue watching to the end but it's strictly comedy with a few dramatic surprises from now on as far as writing is concerned.
DavidK - Wed, Dec 3, 2014 - 8:27am (USA Central)

Ha! At this point do you ever feel like you couldn't change your mind even if you wanted to? People's perception of your opinion is probably bigger than it actually is =P
Dave in NC - Wed, Dec 3, 2014 - 12:03pm (USA Central)
Elliot's got his own thing going.
dlpb - Sat, Dec 27, 2014 - 3:39pm (USA Central)
This is the 24th century. Wouldn't a game like Parrises Squares make more sense for a Klingon?


Are you another who believes Soccer, a world wide sport (the biggest) will suddenly die out in the next few hundred years? Don't be silly. Also, if Worf was going to play any game, it would not be weak American football. It would be where that came from in the first place- Rugby.
Yanks - Wed, Dec 31, 2014 - 8:03pm (USA Central)
I don't think many sports will die out. Weak American football? pffft. Any sport that doesn't allow the use of your hands is not a sport. ... and I could see Worf playing Rugby. Rugby is awesome, soccer is a socialist flop sport.
Londonboy73 - Thu, Jan 1, 2015 - 11:36am (USA Central)
Yanks - I don't think many sports will die out. Weak American football? pffft. Any sport that doesn't allow the use of your hands is not a sport. .

I have read hundreds of comments on this site, hundreds... I have never seen such an ignorant, incorrect and pathetic comment in all that time. Any sport that doesn't allow use if hands is not a sport.... Seriously mate, grow up.

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