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

142 comments on this review

Paul
Thu, Mar 20, 2008, 3:27pm (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
Dimitris,

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 (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
Well, then, the same can be said for TNG's "Shades of Grey"
Nic
Sun, Feb 28, 2010, 9:54pm (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
^ -- Roger Ebert, "North" review, 1994
Charlie
Mon, Apr 12, 2010, 9:53am (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
What is a whore-gun and where can I get one?
Max
Mon, Dec 27, 2010, 2:12am (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
@Max

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 (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
@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 (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
@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 (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
@Elnis, Worfelhoff! LOL!
Kotas
Thu, Oct 24, 2013, 9:22pm (UTC -5)

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.

2/10
eastwest101
Fri, Nov 15, 2013, 10:50pm (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
" 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 (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
Hey...does anybody remember that internet meme with the image of Picard doing a face-palm?

Yah...

Zero stars.
Ospero
Sat, Mar 8, 2014, 1:25am (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
"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 (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
Yanks:

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 (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
Nah, I think Worf's a Kadis-kot guy myself...
E
Tue, Sep 16, 2014, 9:42am (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
@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 (UTC -5)
@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 (UTC -5)
Well, don't I feel like a celebrity 'round these parts!
Sonya
Thu, Nov 27, 2014, 8:51pm (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
@Elliott

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 (UTC -5)
Elliot's got his own thing going.
dlpb
Sat, Dec 27, 2014, 3:39pm (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
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.
Mark
Tue, Jan 27, 2015, 12:34pm (UTC -5)
Yanks is just displaying the usual ignorance that a lot of my fellow Americans have when it comes to soccer(its actually football, the real football but I digress). They don't really know anything about the sport but yet they "hate" it. Makes sense to me. Of course the typical response there would be "I know enough", which is one of the most arrogant and ignorant comments someone can possibly make about anything. I echo the sentiment of grow up.

As far as the episode goes, this has to go in the top 3 or 4 worst episodes of star trek period. One reason I hate it so is because I've never seen Jadzia and Worf as a legitimate couple, and their scenes were just beyond painful in this one. I will never understand for the life of me why the writers decided to pair them up. To me Jadzia only liked Worf because of her obsession with Klingon tradition from her past hosts, and that influenced her to liking the only available Klingon who was also a main cast member. I think her getting with Julian in the last season and not getting killed off would have made more sense then the almost train wreck direction they decided to go with her character.

Dreadful dreadful episode overall.
Yanks
Tue, Jan 27, 2015, 7:50pm (UTC -5)
Mark, I played soccer... and I hate it. I don't begrudge anyone for what they like or dislike. My point was one would think the Klingon Worf would have played some kind of contact sport.
Mark
Wed, Jan 28, 2015, 10:50am (UTC -5)
I've known lots of people who have "played" soccer just to make a point that they know what they're talking about. Usually the ones who actually did play soccer and hated it weren't very good at it and/or they felt like they weren't good enough for a sport that is "non-contact". The problem is is that soccer IS a contact sport. It may not be quite as much contact as football but there still is a lot of contact going on, more than what you see on a high school level(which is a joke if you breathe on the guy you get sent off, there is literally little to no contact allowed probably mainly due to the fact that high school players in this country don't know how to initiate contact without seriously hurting someone) or on the television.
Mark
Wed, Jan 28, 2015, 10:53am (UTC -5)
Another point is that Americans need to get over this whole "its got more contact so its more of a MANS sport" mentality. I would like to see any of those people go out and play against professional European players and see how long they last.

Yanks
Wed, Jan 28, 2015, 4:10pm (UTC -5)
Mark,

I can only assume you haven't played American football or rugby if you are comparing the "contact" in the respective sports.

"Contact" at the pro level soccer is constantly followed by flops and is more like heavy touching.

But hey, I only played high school level.

Mark
Wed, Jan 28, 2015, 5:01pm (UTC -5)
I think at this point its obvious you're just another ignorant stubborn jackass who only sees what you want. No I haven't played football. I've had friends who have though and soccer as well who have told me that soccer is so much harder. A muslim friend of mine who was on both his semi pro soccer team in his country and football team in college at different times said that during conversation at one time. I also have a friend from Cameroon who has done the same thing more or less. Said pretty much the same thing as well. Soccer is a contact sport rather you want to see that or not. If you've ever been to an in live world class professional game you would see this. It also takes more skill to be really good at it. Maybe you should look up online at all the bad leg breaks, acl tears, and deep leg cuts(look up wayne rooney leg cut, or leg breaks soccer on google) to see just how much of a "non-contact" sport soccer is.

I don't expect any change in opinion however. It's like arguing with a brick wall when it comes to debating with people like you. Have a nice day.
Yanks
Wed, Jan 28, 2015, 6:16pm (UTC -5)
Mark, your rant is laughable.

Soccer is "hard" and folks break and tear things.

That really supports your argument.

You could look up injuries in American football (because you brought it up) and compare it to soccer, but then you wouldn't have an argument. I'm sure folks tear things in badminton too.

As to what started this, I guess you're right. I can picture little Klingon kids running around and not scoring the entire game... making sure they didn't plow someone over or hurt someone. I'm sure millions of Klingon warriors would have loved to attend those games. Especially when their kids can get a yellow card for tripping someone or using their hands...or get a red card and removed from the game for being too rough.

That sounds Klingon to me. Song material there.

You win.
Mark
Wed, Jan 28, 2015, 8:14pm (UTC -5)
What I don't get is what exactly is your issue? Why do you and other Americans hate soccer so much that you act like such childish rude assholes about it? You've missed my point entirely here and have completely supported my point about arguing with a brick wall regardless. Get over yourself and take your pompous attitude somewhere else. You just sound like some nerd who likes to boast about how much contact a sport has or how more "manly" a sport is over another despite the fact that you don't compete in any of these sports yourself. Yes of course football has injuries just as bad as soccer, my point was that soccer has lots of contact despite what you may believe. But again I don't expect that you'll see reason because you just seem very stubborn and narrow minded.

In all reality its a ridiculous thing to talk about rather or not a fictional race on a TV show from 20 years ago would compete in a "non contact" sport. It hardly even matters. However you've made yourself look foolish by acting like soccer isn't a sport because it doesn't allow you to use hands, is a socialist flop sport and involves "heavy" touching. I don't think you could go anymore with the stereotypical ignorant American who knows nothing about soccer more if you tried.
Robert
Thu, Jan 29, 2015, 7:47am (UTC -5)
As an American who's sole sporting watching typically involves the World Cup and the Superbowl I feel I am uniquely qualified to chime in here.

The Superbowl is a fun excuse to eat hot wings and watch stupid commercials and the World Cup is a fun event to chat about with all of your friends from different countries.

As to Soccer and Football though? They are both pretty stupid. Americans don't like soccer because of the element of performance art to it and the low scoring. Some of the best players in the world are some of the best divers in the world. There's also a objectiveness to the rulings that feel unfair. Americans HATE unfair.

You want to know what Americans do like? Excess. That's why we have 48 oz drinks and why Football goals give 6 points. Add an extra 5 points to each Soccer goal and the ratings will go up, I assure you! The truth is that Football has more amazing plays than soccer (unless you're really into defense, in which case soccer is beautiful) but the majority of it are a bunch of guys ramming into each other in ridiculously heavy "armor" to gain 3 yards. Yawn to that as well.

Worf would have played hockey. With a bat'leth. Qapla'!
Robert
Thu, Jan 29, 2015, 8:37am (UTC -5)
Just to qualify the statement "Football has more amazing plays than soccer", I mean that the frequency of plays that have people on the edge of their seat are higher than soccer. I don't mean that an awesome Football play is more awesome than an awesome Soccer play. I'll let sports fans debate that.
Jammer
Thu, Jan 29, 2015, 9:22pm (UTC -5)
I don't normally play the Ugly American, but when it comes to soccer, I will. It is boring to watch. They should call the sport "running around a massive field and never scoring." I don't think we question the athleticism. I do think we question the fun of watching it. But that's a point of view, not an objective fact.

Most Americans have the opportunity to play the sport as children (myself included), and some play it even longer, but our culture at large just doesn't care much about it. Are we right and is the rest of the world wrong? Well, I suppose not. But that doesn't make my or any other American's opinion any less valid, and it doesn't simply necessarily arise from arrogance or ignorance. Maybe I'm not worldly about my sports. Oh well.

When it comes to some things, like sports, which, yes, is ultimately just entertainment, it's just a matter of preference. I prefer watching sports (like American football) where there are complicated rules, lots of scoring, and intricate strategies at work. Is the sport overly contrived for TV? Probably, and I say, great. What I *don't* prefer is watching people run around a massive field and scoring once (or zero times) in 90 minutes.

If that makes me an ignorant a-hole, then I must accept the label in this case.
Mark
Thu, Jan 29, 2015, 10:58pm (UTC -5)
I have a friend who loved everything American football. Loved the Dallas Cowboys all the way back from when he was a child and Emmitt Smith was playing running back for them. He wasn't from Dallas or anywhere from Texas for that matter, but the Cowboys were the team he loved from day one of watching football. He also really loathed soccer. Couldn't stand the sport. He saw no redeeming qualities about it, and said the same things that have been said here about it and other things that I've heard about it from other Americans countless times. When asked if he had ever been to a game he said no and he wanted to keep it that way.

Well me and some other friends of mine decided we were going to take a trip to Germany and tour a little bit of both Berlin and Munich. We asked him if he wanted to come along and he was very excited about the whole thing. When we got there we managed to get tickets for the Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund game. He wasn't so thrilled about it but he decided despite all his "hate" for the game he would go for the experience to see what all the fuss was about. It was a great game and he was completely enthralled throughout most of it. He came out of it very surprised at how exciting the game was, and how different it was than what he had expected to be. After that he decided to casually start following Bayern Munich from then on. Eventually after a short time that casual following became more than that and it has gotten to the point that he now is a huge support of Bayern Munich and catches every game. Does he still watch football? Sure, but it doesn't seem to hold his interest like it used to. He still follows the Cowboys, but is actually now a bigger fan of Munich.

Now I know that not all Americans would be like him and decide that after one game to decide that it was indeed a great sport. Some people would still hate it. There are people who know all about American football and still hate that. There are also people in Europe and South America who can't stand soccer either. However I do think that if more people were exposed to high level soccer on a consistent basis, a lot more people in this country would start following a team and start getting into it a lot more. Part of the problem is with a lot of Americans is that they think the soccer being played in their youth comes close to the real thing. In this country IT DOES NOT. For the most part not anywhere close. You said that they should call it the sport of "running around a massive field and never scoring." The problem is you can say that about a lot of sports albeit about something else(such as football is nothing but a group of grown man playing rough with each other over a ball). You have to grow up with the sport, playing it, watching it and knowing how the game works to fully appreciate it. Once you know that and you realize how fast and hard and skilled those guys play(something that the television doesn't come close to doing justice of really showing)it is a VERY exciting sport to watch and play most of the time. Sure there are very boring matches of soccer, but that's in every sport.

I actually don't usually care rather or not someone hates soccer. Most of the time I just blow them off as someone who doesn't know what they're talking about more than likely. I think to have an actual opinion about something, especially a strong one such as hating or really disliking something, you really should have real first hand and consistent experience with that something. Most Americans don't when it comes to soccer. Most Americans are quite arrogant and ignorant when it comes to the sport. That wouldn't be a problem. The problem is though a lot of Americans will treat you like a subhuman and start getting all kinds of rude and nasty to someone who does like the sport, like its some communist attack on American values and traditions. It's really sometimes just plain weird. They also think they know everything they need to know about the sport because they played in their youth and/or they watched it a couple of times for maybe 10 minutes at the most. They don't. Most don't. I think if they were to actually really look into it, actually take a deeper look and investigate what soccer is all about, a lot more people in this country would be invested in it and finally understand what the fuss is really all about. If you don't like it find. But don't act like its not any less a sport than the one that you like just because you don't really understand and/or appreciate the sport. You also can't call it boring until you've actually watched it consistently, especially in person live in my opinion.
Robert
Fri, Jan 30, 2015, 6:44am (UTC -5)
@Mark - I don't disagree with you (you'll note I said I enjoyed the Superbowl for it's commercials). I probably like the World Cup better, but it may just be because it's fun to smack talk my Brazilian, British and Italian friends (completely baseless of course, the Americans should be better than we are).

I do get why Americans prefer American football in a lot of ways, but it shocks me that we are so uninterested in this global contest of athleticism. I disagree that there's anything in soccer that would hold a Klingon's interest (though to be fair, boxing may be too lame for a Klingon). With the level of athletic talent and the money America is usually willing to spend on world sporting events I really do think Americans would like soccer more if we made a concerted effort to be better at it.

Also, a lot of sports is in the way it's sold. A really good announcer can make a game way more exciting (the same way you noted a game can be more exciting played live). I think soccer in particular is fun played live because of the ridiculous level of passion of the fans. I imagine that's quite infectious (I've never been, but I could see that).

I still don't really care much about sports either way, but I'll be enjoying my junk food and commercials on Sunday. I hope there's a good game (because there have been a few really good ones in the last few years). But if not I'll still have fun. I also look forward to the next World Cup.
Dave in NC
Fri, Jan 30, 2015, 8:11am (UTC -5)
Disclaimer: I grew up in New England, so I was basically weaned on the Red Sox. My team allegiance dissipated with adulthood. I haven't watched a big league game in I-don't-know-how-long but I still read the stats in the paper when I can. Old habits die hard.

That admission made, I must admit I've never had one passionate argument/debate about spectator sports because that whole world doesn't really speak to me on any level.

I've never really understand the vicarious connection people seem to have with people they don't know succeeding at something trivial.

The "hometown team" people are rooting for? They are made up of overpaid people with no roots or ties to the hometown other than a giant paycheck.

That merchandise and those stadium tickets they sell? By design the pricing gouges people (especially children).

Most of their stadiums are built on the taxpayer dime and are never paid off. It's only a couple of decades before the owners start crying for ANOTHER newer, flashier arena. They tout economic benefits that never seem to materialize. They threaten to move the team. The sports-fan voting bloc freaks out and the government folds. Repeat cycle.

The reason I said sports doesn't matter in the grand scheme? That's because pro-sports usually involve doing things TO A BALL.

The final irony? Most of those fans would be better off to get off the couch and join an amateur league.

Yeah, I don't get the passion.

PS- Is there anything more irritating than listening to a bunch of people talk about a sport (players, management, refs) when you don't watch it and don't care about it? I know it's just my personal bias, but talk about a colossal waste of time & energy.
Latex Zebra
Fri, Jan 30, 2015, 10:48am (UTC -5)
Americans, don't have the patience for Football, I refuse to call it soccer when American’s version of football is played mainly with peoples hands, in my experience. Likewise with cricket.
American’s tend to favour sports that are constant and something is always happening. For me as a Brit I can enjoy the passing and movement on the pitch as much as I do seeing a goal go in.
I do love American Throwball though. I was a pioneering fan of the Heathrow Jets, one of the first teams in the UK, and used to watch them virtually every weekend. I’ll quite happily stay up and watch the Superbowl as well.
Can’t stand Rugby though, nor Cricket. The former is quite annoying as I live in the shadow of Twickenham Stadium! I do wonder about fans of American Football, who love the strategies and tactics, would handle Test cricket. Slow as you like but tactically very clever.

Anyway the point is, people love different sports, some none at all. Football, as in the proper version played with your feet is the most watched sport in the World. It doesn’t make it the best. Just the most popular.
Robert
Fri, Jan 30, 2015, 11:08am (UTC -5)
"Americans, don't have the patience for Football, I refuse to call it soccer when American’s version of football is played mainly with peoples hands, in my experience. "

/rant begin/

You know it's called Football because the PEOPLE are on foot right? As in to contrast it from the sports the Brits played on horseback.....

As far as why we call it soccer... Americans did NOT decide to change the name of an international sport just to be ethnocentric dicks and invent their own. The entire mixup is England's fault and has very little to do with us.

From around 1400 (first historical mention of football in England) to about 1800 MANY games carried the name football. The first football game to gain real traction was invented at Rugby school. Rugby School football became popular throughout the UK in the 1850s and 1860s and had spread to Scotland by 1857.

Association Football (soccer), first played in Dec 1863 was a sport popular with the British elite, most specifically college students. British college students had the habit of shortening things and adding -er to them (Rugby -> Rugger) and started called Association Football Asoccer. So in 1863 you had Rugger and Soccer (since both games were football, the British school kids used the FIRST word to derive the colloquial names).

The first game of American Football was played in 1869 (6 years after the first soccer game) by Princeton and Rutgers. Since this was our football and the other 2 were popularly called Rugger/Rugby Football and Soccer/Association Football, we just plainly called our version Football. And rightly so. Since it was played on FOOT and derived from the many, many footballs out there already.

In the 1880s soccer spread to the British lower class and became insanely popular. They didn't like the hoity toity university names and ignored soccer to call it Football. The first record of Association Football being called Football instead of Soccer is in 1881, 18 years after the Oxford kids started calling it Soccer and 12 years after American Football was being called Football.

But, go ahead and assume that our refusal to change OUR sport's name after the Brit's decided to change THEIRS so that they could have the name back is America being stupid if that's what you need to do.

Oh and US, Ireland, South Africa, Canada, and Australia all still widely use soccer because they all made their own Football while the Brits were still figuring out what to call theirs. And FIFA was formed in Paris in 1904... 35 years after the first American Football game. But yep, we should have just given them the name back. Because their game hits the ball with their foot. Even though that has nothing to do with it.

/rant over/
Robert
Fri, Jan 30, 2015, 11:11am (UTC -5)
@Zebra - That rant wasn't meant to seem angry FYI. Just frustrated because Brits roll their eyes when Americans say soccer... but it's actually their fault :)
Robert
Fri, Jan 30, 2015, 11:21am (UTC -5)
I will say that I think soccer has a lot of strategy and tactics, it's just more subtle and difficult to follow and focuses on defense a lot of the time.

Anybody else think this conversation is more entertaining than the episode?
Mark
Sat, Jan 31, 2015, 12:43am (UTC -5)
@Zebra

I think that's what a lot of people don't get about soccer. The very quick and intricate passing and movement that goes on, along with the high skill level is what keeps people watching. It's also very competitive and intense, and when a goal goes in, its through great buildup and great skill.

The fact is though that you're never going to convince people to watch something that they have already made up their mind about. It goes along with everything else in America really. Take things at face value and run with it and then act like your opinion of something that you only really know bits and pieces about is a valid one.
Latex Zebra
Sat, Jan 31, 2015, 9:33am (UTC -5)
Oh Robert you just threw yourself on that giant wiggly worm on the end of that hook.

I was just seeing who would bite. I know you weren't being nasty.

It's just a name, though to me it will always be football. Look at Australian Rules Football. The only thing they got right is Australian as they play it with their hands and there don't actually seem to be any rules.

I feel sorry for my Brother as he has moved to the states to try and educate you yanks ;) on the ways of real football, I mean soccer. Teach kids at the moment but he has said the parents are getting more into it on the sidelines.
We're both scared that you guys are going to really get into it. Given the size of America if everyone started liking soccer then the rest of the World is doomed. You'll dominate for years.

You guys stick to BasketBall and American Football please.

Oh and yes the episode was awful. Sports discussion will always be better.
Latex Zebra
Sat, Jan 31, 2015, 11:17am (UTC -5)
Interestingly enough there is a game starting soon. Manchester City vs Chelsea.

There are 26 broadcasters there and there is an estimated global audience of 650m who will watch.

This is just a league game, no cups or anything involved. That is pretty crazy. Especially as 15 years ago most people outside of England would barely know those teams.
Jammer
Sun, Feb 1, 2015, 12:28pm (UTC -5)
Name a TV show that is outside your preferred area of general interest or preferred genre. (For a lot of people, these would be sci-fi shows. For people frequenting this site, it might be something else.)

Now imagine that the rest of the world watched this show, or at least a whole lot of people. Maybe it's "NCIS" or something else on CBS that has tons of viewers.

Now, you may never be interested in watching this show, ever, even if it might be hugely popular, or even if it's critically acclaimed. You may even have watched an episode or two and concluded that it is just not for you. Are you wrong for not wanting to watch it? Are all the people who have never seen "The Wire" or "Breaking Bad" wrong and/or arrogant idiots for not being interested and thinking it's a waste of their time?

I'm going to go out on a limb and say no. I might even grant them their bias against the show based on what it is about and their lack of interest in that particular thing.

Sports (even soccer!) are no different -- and I'd go even further and say that sports are even less valid as something you can defend outside of personal preference because they are not a form of artistic expression the way a good TV show or film can be.
Mark
Sun, Feb 1, 2015, 2:28pm (UTC -5)
They're arrogant idiots if they say things like its a "socialist flop sport" that is "non-contact" and hate it when they don't really know the sport that well or at least as well as they think they do.

I've also known people who didn't like Breaking Bad or some other show because they watched an episode or two and couldn't get into it. They then sometimes act like its a pile of garbage and don't understand how anybody could like it after only watching a few episodes. That to me is being a bit of an arrogant idiot. Yes that includes if you've never even seen the show and act like its a waste of your time. How do you know?

You think if someone decided to try watching star trek but only caught episodes like this one and a few other ones that were mediocre and decided that all of star trek must stink, without watching any of the other series or episodes, do you think they're opinion is valid? People can have an opinion if they want to. To turn around and say something isn't very good or is boring when they've only seen bits and pieces of it really is to me not legitimate. Going based off face value and first impressions judgments is not legitimate. How many times have people had to get to know someone they didn't like, or kept with a show they didn't care for at first only to end up really liking the person or the show?

I'll also never understand how people can call soccer boring considering how constant stop and go football is. They just did an analysis of the Super Bowl the other day. 4 hours long and its only going to be around 27-28 minutes of actual action going on. That's a little ridiculous. A lot of the time football plays consist of 2-3 yard runs or 10-12 yard pass plays. The big exciting plays are usually a couple a game maybe.
Dave in NC
Sun, Feb 1, 2015, 3:32pm (UTC -5)
Jammer said:

Sports (even soccer!) are no different -- and I'd go even further and say that sports are even less valid as something you can defend outside of personal preference because they are not a form of artistic expression the way a good TV show or film can be.


My two cents:

Absolutely 100% correct!

Besides giving bored kids & gymrats something productive to do, the ancillary societal benefits of spectator sports is pretty laughable.

I do understand the mind's need for useless drivel. After all, I have seen Voyager's Threshold three times.

There is literally nothing deep or profound about these activities themselves. Yes, there might be some interesting "human interest" stories there for the press to exploit, but you could achieve that end with a incisive profile of the first stranger you pass on the sidewalk.

Spectator sports really are the distillation of the human tendency to put undue importance on competition that has no productive end result.
Pointlessly throwing/kicking a ball around year after year doesn't say anything about the human condition, unless you're a pessimistic existentialist.
msw188
Sun, Feb 1, 2015, 3:56pm (UTC -5)
Haha, where did all this come from? I'll just be a jerk and list all the boring things about all sports in the US:
baseball - everything... I will say it feels pretty unique though
basketball - basically everything, can't hit people, players can call timeout midplay...?
football - too much stopping and starting, feels custom-designed for television replay and midday naps
soccer - too much ground is covered too slowly, might be better if the field were a bit more compact and had boards to lower the amount of stops due to 'out of bounds'... also would be improved by more body blows, substitutions midplay (to allow higher frequency of 'all-out' physical play), and being played on ice, preferably with sticks and a puck, making it faster without losing the thrill and beauty of scoring a relatively rare goal

I think that covers all boring sports with major coverage in the US. :)
msw188
Sun, Feb 1, 2015, 4:23pm (UTC -5)
Jokes aside, I will respond to:
"they are not a form of artistic expression the way a good TV show or film can be."

"Spectator sports really are the distillation of the human tendency to put undue importance on competition that has no productive end result."

I think there is some truth to both these statements, but some oversimplification as well. At the highest levels of sports, I will claim that there are moments of beauty and artistry. The best players in any sport will have those moments on the ice (or the field, I guess) where their physical skills and intelligence seem so fine-tuned to the task at hand that they are able to make something seemingly magical happen, something that feels unique and impossible to either preconceive or replicate. This isn't so different from our usual notions about art (especially music). We cannot quite quantify what it is about the piece (or the play on the ice) that so moves us, but somehow we feel that something special, maybe even something genius, was achieved.

What separates sport is that the beauty is at least partially derived from the fierce competition of the opponent.
Josh
Sun, Feb 1, 2015, 4:36pm (UTC -5)
Re: Americans not having the "patience" for (soccer) football.

I trust anyone suggesting that has never gone to a baseball game and had to explain why it's actually interesting. As Homer Simpsons observed, without beer, he'd never noticed how boring the game is.
William B
Sun, Feb 1, 2015, 9:14pm (UTC -5)
I don't have a real opinion on soccer vs. football.

On the question of whether sport can have aesthetic merit, I agree with msw188. I am not personally invested in any spectator sports, and there are some whose drawbacks (in terms of injuries, etc.) are very hard for me to personally see as being worthwhile. But I do think that human bodies and endurance tested, individuals working as a team, the competitive urge channelled into a "safe" environment, etc., have some beauty and contain some truths about the human condition. I don't really know how to say that without being pretentious, especially because I am really not the person to talk about this. I agree that the aesthetic qualities of sports are further removed from the way that quality tends to be evaluated for narrative art, but I don't think that means that team sports have no aesthetic qualities (or redeeming social value) at all.
Skeptical
Sun, Feb 1, 2015, 9:18pm (UTC -5)
Well, this conversation took a weird turn... Just my random two cents.

- To anyone complaining about how silly it is to watch X sport or get worked up about Y team, just remember that you're posting on an internet page dedicated to an episode that appeared 18 years ago. And something that has no productive end result? Isn't that true of any TV show? None of us here have a right to complain about any other fandom =)

- On a more serious note, interest in sports in general I think relies in part on the unpredictability. A TV show? It's scripted, someone plotted it all out. But sports? We don't know who's going to win. We don't know if a particular strategy is going to work. It's a battle of wits and skill and a little luck, and what will happen is anyone's guess. So we watch, hoping for our team to win, but also hoping that, out of this uncertainty, something exciting and new will appear. Storylines that are scripted, well, we can appreciate the writers for coming up with something clever. But an amazing moment in sports? That comes naturally out of the people involved.

And so when random events of skill and strategy come together to form a beautiful narrative, it etches itself into our memory. And it does so just as well as any preplotted, pre-scripted narrative. As an example, Americans back in 1996 fell in love with the women's Olympic gymnastics team. Why? Because they won their first ever gold medal in a dramatic fashion, with gymnast Kerri Strug landing a vault despite an injured ankle. If it was plotted by a writer, we'd have rolled our eyes at the cheesiness. But since it happened in real life, it was a sensation.

Heck, this is true even if it's not a team you root for. I'm a Cubs fan, and as pained as it is to admit it, the downfall of the 2003 Cubs, or for that matter the rise of the 1969 Mets at the expense of the Cubs, are both dramatic narratives in the world of baseball. It's stories like those that keep people coming back to the sport, or to sports in general.

- As for soccer in general, it is not true that Americans don't like it because of low scores. That holds true for hockey and baseball as well. It's also not true that it's not flashy enough for Americans; baseball isn't either. I think part of the problem is that it's harder to enjoy soccer on a "superficial" level. Maybe there's strategy involved with setting up defenses and the like, but it's not obvious to a casual observer. To a casual observer, the game really does look like a whole lotta nothing. In contrast, American football and basketball are exciting on a superficial level, but also have a greater depths that can be enjoyed by more dedicated fans (well, at least football does; I don't know and don't care about basketball). As for baseball, well, it's kinda boring on a superficial level (at least my wife thinks so...), but I think it's enjoyed on the superficial level as more of an experience. Sort of an American tradition.

- As for what sport is better, whatever... It probably does come down to personal preference. Me, I don't care one wit about soccer, and am only half interested in American football. Baseball is my sport. And it doesn't bother me at all that others think it's dumb or boring or whatever. Does it really matter?

- Finally, as to whether or not Worf would have played Soccer vs a more contact sport, well, isn't it possible that the Rozhenkos steered him more towards less violent sports? If I was Worf's dad, I would be at least a little afraid of letting Worf's violent tendencies get a bit out of hand. Even K'Eylhar and Alexander liked killing baddies on the holodeck and got a bit of a bloodlust. If Worf really was that much stronger, I would think Rugby or wrestling or anything else might be a bad idea for him... Especially given how even soccer turned out for him.
Robert
Mon, Feb 2, 2015, 7:47am (UTC -5)
"Why? Because they won their first ever gold medal in a dramatic fashion, with gymnast Kerri Strug landing a vault despite an injured ankle. If it was plotted by a writer, we'd have rolled our eyes at the cheesiness. But since it happened in real life, it was a sensation."

Well said, I like the thought behind that :)
Mark
Wed, Feb 4, 2015, 11:29am (UTC -5)
@msw188

Hockey is fun to watch but it sounds like you've never seen a professional soccer game if you think it doesn't cover enough ground fast enough. Sure there are slow buildups but there are also very quick counter attacks and very quick passing going up and down the field. As I've said as well the quick intricate passing with the level of skill and physicality makes it exciting to watch most of the time.

The only reason hockey is slightly faster is because its as you said more compact and also the fact that they're on ice with skates.
Mark
Wed, Feb 4, 2015, 11:35am (UTC -5)
@Dave in NC

I would agree that sports are pretty much pointless from every perspective except an entertainment one. People love entertainment and seeing things that get them out of their seats and forget the worries of their lives and make them feel good is one of the main reasons sports are still around.

I love soccer as much as I do because of the fact that it was one of the very few things that was actually good in my childhood(not to sound mopey). All of my better friends in life loved the sport as well, and it has been one of the main reasons of why I have very deep connections with some people, from the past and present. Soccer more than any other sport in the world, really can bring all kinds of people together most of the time.
Icarus32Soar
Sun, Mar 15, 2015, 10:36am (UTC -5)
The episode was unspeakable and so is the latter part of this thread which has degenerated into a jingoistic bonebrain rant about football genres. I'm outta here, this is an insult to ST.
londonboy73
Sun, Mar 15, 2015, 7:08pm (UTC -5)
Icarus32Soar - Sun, Mar 15, 2015 - 10:36am (USA Central)
The episode was unspeakable and so is the latter part of this thread which has degenerated into a jingoistic bonebrain rant about football genres. I'm outta here, this is an insult to ST.

How the hell is this an insult to ST??? If anything it shows what a good debate even one of the worst episodes of ST can bring.

I didn't agree with lots of the points being made and agreed with others (being English and a soccer fan it's obvious which side I took). But the whole debate was very interesting and even Jammer had his say! I fail to see how it is in any way an insult to Star Trek.

I didn't enjoy the debate on the comments section of 'Far Beyond The Stars' which went on for ages about the intricacies of the American Federal Govenment. You know what I did....... Didn't continue reading it...... You know what I didn't do...... Say it was an insult and throw my toys out of the pram!

If you don't like the debate don't read it. Saying it is an insult just because something doesn't interest you is just sad.
DVMX
Wed, Mar 18, 2015, 12:57pm (UTC -5)
I guess I'm in the minority but I actually enjoyed this episode a lot. Its not perfect (not sure how I'd grade it...2 and a half stars?) but I was entertained throughout. I guess I tend to like filler/fluff eps with Worf. Plus I was a big fan of Worf and Jadzia's relationship, and this provided context to further that along.

Honestly the only two eps of DS9 that are 100% unwatchable to me is "Profit and Lace" and "Fascination". Beyond that, I can even find favor in Quark-centered eps (easily my least favorite character). But luckily DS9's stellar eps far outway their so-so eps.
Robrow
Tue, Apr 28, 2015, 8:45am (UTC -5)
Worse than 'Fascination', I now feel I can say I've watched DS9's 'Sub Rosa'. Most of it was painful, bits excruciating. Apart from Quark and Bashir's mutual shock at Leeta's attraction to Rom. That was a good one.
Del_Duio
Tue, Apr 28, 2015, 9:48am (UTC -5)
@ Robrow: Actually "Profit and Lace" is WORSE if you can believe it. Actually, IMO it's a lot worse. That is the single worst episode of DS9. There's only one good point to the whole episode and that's a joke Worf makes about 40 seconds in.
Yanks
Tue, Apr 28, 2015, 9:20pm (UTC -5)
:-)

All this talk to include Jammer joining us because I said it is more reasonable to assume that Worf would play a contact sport.

Any sport that includes a Vuvuzela is not a sport at all, it's a head-ache in the making :-)
Robert
Wed, Apr 29, 2015, 6:43am (UTC -5)
By the 24th century Vuvuzela ITSELF will be an Olympic Sport.
Mark
Fri, May 1, 2015, 7:08pm (UTC -5)
Forgotten about this little debate for a little while. Only came back to it because I've been re watching some of these episodes lately

@Yanks Stop trying to get another debate going. You know nothing about the sport obviously so just keep it to yourself from now on.

That's a good boy.
Yanks
Sat, May 2, 2015, 6:58am (UTC -5)
Mark, you rewatched this episode? ... lol
MsV
Tue, May 5, 2015, 2:08am (UTC -5)
For Yanks: Any episode that references soccer can only be a turd. Does anyone believe that Worf played soccer instead of football? :-) No he played all of them including mixed martial arts, wrestling, boxing and anything rough and violent. I am the gymnastics type. lol

I won't say I like the ep. but I have watched at worse shows. I think it deserves a 1.5 for Vanessa Williams, I just think she deserved more screen time. She is a pretty good actress and is very pretty.
Quarky
Sat, Jun 6, 2015, 2:58am (UTC -5)
Man, all the comments about soccer is about as boring as watching it. It's all good. As for the episode, I just watched it again and it was so sappy. The only part I liked is when Worf told Jadzia she wasn't Klingon. Sisko should have point d that out to get in Blood Oath. Am I the only one who grew tired of Jadzia acting as though she were Klingon because her last host worked with them?
Kmoney
Thu, Jun 25, 2015, 2:12am (UTC -5)
I love DS9, but this episode is just the worst. One question though did the leader of the essentialists just wander into warfs hotel room randomly and pitch his deal. If so that is super nuts.
HawgWyld
Thu, Jul 2, 2015, 4:03pm (UTC -5)
Oh, yeah. This one stinks. On reflection, this is the episode that made me start thinking that the time had really come to get rid of Dax. In terms of character development, she became completely unappealing in this episode and the "ick" factor remained for the rest of the her run on the series.
Nathan B.
Mon, Jul 13, 2015, 1:40am (UTC -5)
I have to respectfully disagree with Jammer and most of the commenters here. Deep Space Nine's "Let He Who Is Without Sin" is in fact a four-star episode. It's not without faults, to be sure, but its ambition and execution easily make up for these.

"Cast the first stone," completes the titular phrase, of course, and the allusion is to the New Testament. Similarly, those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones--and the repeated visual of the glass geodesic dome (Vancouver's MacMillan Bloedel Conservatory, if I'm not mistaken) reminds us of this ourselves. Who is judging whom here? That gets to the heart of the episode.

The plot of "Without Sin" is incredibly well-structured, and this gives the episode much of its meaning. Worf is physically exuberant with Dax, and she with him--something highlighted at the beginning of the episode. Unfortunately, Worf's traditionalism, and inner fear of losing control, make him distrust Dax's more easygoing approach to personal relationships, and make him needlessly suspicious of her behavior and intentions, even if we can have a certain sympathy for some his misgivings. It's very easy to see that this makes Worf vulnerable to the Essentialist movement long before Dax explicitly spells this fact out for Worf (and stubborn members of the audience).

Similarly, some of the comments here assail Worf for throwing Fullarton against a wall, as though there were something inconsistent about Worf's action. In fact, the act of throwing Fullarton against the wall shows us the audience that Worf has just internalized a valuable lesson. He's learned that his fear of repeating his childhood tragic accident that killed a rival soccer player has kept him hampered throughout his life. By throwing the unpleasant Fullerton against a wall (something Worf has done on many occasions to others for much less cause, e.g. Morn in ""Looking for par'Mach in All the Wrong Places"), Worf is signalling the healing that has occurred within himself. We may not like this action, or approve it, but it is consistent with Worf's portrayal in both TNG and DS9.*

Furthermore, some have objected that Worf would be too smart to follow someone like Fullarton, but this ignores Worf's journey and struggle with matters of faith, belief, and spirituality in "Rightful Heir." Again, Worf's sudden attraction to Fullarton is consistent with his personality throughout the Star Trek canon.

Worf was unreasonably jealous of Dax, but this was because, basically, he had (a) a real lack of experience in dating and long-term relationships, and (b) a painful single experience and a world of suppressed pain inside him that rendered him vulnerable to Fullarton's preaching and message.

Fullarton is an obvious allegory for modern evangelical Republicans and televangelists (he even has the whole tablet as a Bible-carrying action right). Fullarton sows his seeds, but if the ground hasn't been prepared by pain, and the right combination of relationship inexperience and painful personal experience, then his seeds won't sprout. In a world of religious fundamentalists who so desperately feel the need to control the sexuality of other human beings, Star Trek is well within its rights to explore issues like this.

Incidentally, one of tne of the things I like about Worf is just how honestly his character presents all this, and frankly, it's a journey I share as someone who came to dating and relationships very late, and as someone who left the path of religious fundamentalism, with all its jealousy and fears of the human body, and its fanaticism about interpersonal relationships. I know I've been suspicious in the past when the sole basis of that suspicion was nothing more than my own fear of getting hurt and losing control. When I see Worf's struggles with belief in Kahless, or his attraction to the Essentialist movement, I see myself at a younger age. And having had this experience, I am so glad that Dax didn't let Worf control her every movement even as she communicated her love for him.

The episode does have some room for the Essentialist viewpoint, and gives it a fair representation. At the same time, the episode is a stirring defense of something some would consider an indulgence: vacations. Time off, time to let the body rest and the mind wander. Time to enjoy the company of loved ones and the smiles of strangers. The closing sunset may be a little cheesy, but after all the sterility of TNG and so much else in Trek, the ending of the ambitious "Without Sin" was both touching and well-earned.



--
*It should be noted that Worf is fully capable of restraining himself. He's had a lifetime of practice in physical combat, and knows how to keep his opponent safe in a fight. Incidentally, to be properly consistent, the same commenters who blame Worf here should also be speaking out against what he did to Morn just a few episodes ago, and that was far worse.
John G
Sat, Jul 18, 2015, 7:02pm (UTC -5)
I didn't hate this episode. I would give it 2 stars.

The Essentialists were over the top, but they had a point that they took too far and made in a way that would lose support for it. Like, a fake attack on the softest target in the entire Federation proves how vulnerable they are.

I don't think the episode did a great job with it, but it did go into the real issues of the balance between work and play and liberty and security.

I don't really buy that Worf would break the law to join them.

I also hated the Curzon died having sex with Vanessa Williams story as it conflicts with the pilot where in an orb vision we see a flashback of Curzon dying next to Jadzia on the operating table.

I also give half a star for Quark in cabana wear. (I think his outfit was ultra vintage and was once in Frank Costanza's attic) and for his classic "Right now it's glemmening out there." line.
Aine
Tue, Jul 21, 2015, 3:36pm (UTC -5)
Was so glad to find this rating for a really terrible episode. I think the plot flaws have been adequately criticized. The one thing that really bothered me was how absolutely BRATTY Worf was being - controlling Dax and judging her (so hypocritical after his speech 2-3 episodes ago about what he likes about the Klingon woman he was crushing on - her being independent, assertive etc). He says some REALLY messy stuff - that her behaviour reflects on him. He sounds like some 'nice' regressive idiot trying to 'teach' his wife who is not a person in her own right, but carries his honor. And hence, he has every right to police and control.

At least Dax pushed back against that crap. She was there to have a good time, and all this guy did was whine and sulk, be rude to her friends, and REPEATEDLY try to control her despite her telling him to back off multiple times.

The absolutely ridiculous part was that he very directly does something that disrupts the planet's tourism facilities (SURELY a crime?) and he also admits to doing it only because he's annoyed with Jadzia not 'cooperating' with his wishes and his own irrational jealousy/suspicion (that control thing is so ridiculous - that it even extends to what other people do; Why does Julian even explain anything to Worf?) - and after all this, Jadzia is still holding forth on how Worf is some kind of lovable idiot with so much courage.

What the hell?? Firstly, someone like Jadzia should NEVER put up with crap like this. Secondly, what is all this talk about fragility around humans when their nightly sessions leave her with all sorts of physical damage - so obviously he isn't 'restraining' himself there. Thirdly, what is Jadzia even getting from this relationship? She started off with this warm spot for this misunderstood, brave Klingon, but he is no fun, is constantly trying to 'fix' into docility, didn't trust her to start off with - it's just a COMPLETE mess.

Worf in TNG with the Klingon woman (whose name I don't remember) was a MUCH better dynamic. Frankly, the best kind of masculinity shown on Star Trek is when you have strong, aggressive characters like Klingons openly appreciating and glorying in the fact that Klingon women STAND UP FOR THEMSELVES and don't take crap from anyone. THAT is what I can imagine someone like Jadzia being attracted to about Klingons.

This was so much utter crap. Character consistency on Jadzia's part would have dictated that if she was there to have fun, she would have just told Worf to go get his head sorted out while she HAD FUN. And that is just sad, because I can't believe that a male character (Curzon) would have done anything less.

'The story of Worf's egoistic unacceptable sexist behaviour while Jadzia's character is completely altered to buffet that' just doesn't work.

And the worst, terrible things were how little Worf seemed to understand about consent. He goes around saying that Federation citizens 'needed to learn' to get tough etc. It goes against the spirit of the Federation for ANYONE to go around dictating things like that to other people. AND HE STILL GETS A 'HERO' ENDING, AND A KICKASS WOMAN LIKE JADZIA.

Yuck.
Bill
Fri, Aug 14, 2015, 9:09pm (UTC -5)
I laughed through it. Especially those portions that, timely as they were as today was the first I'd seen this episode (on Hulu), its parody of the "Black Lives Matter" idiots was so prescient. Four stars for depicting finger-wagging fundamentalists as the pompous, self-righteous, narcissistic assholes they all are.
Ben
Mon, Nov 9, 2015, 3:45pm (UTC -5)
Zero stars is far to harsh. There are worse episodes like "Fascination". I liked the scene where Worf made his revelation about why he is so stiff. I found it especially strong because the rest of the episode was pretty silly and it comes out of nowhere. He killed another kid in a football game which changed him forever. If you are different (stronger, fearless and so on) and proud about it, maybe even arrogant to realize then that this led to the death of someone. I don't know. I found it quite moving.

@jammer: more and more people like soccer in the US (probably because of all the brain destruction in american football ?) I think these two sports show the difference between Europe and the US quite well: Football: slow, strategic, you have to be concentrated the whole time.
American Football: fast, brutal, tactical.
(Ok, I admit. Most of my knowledge about American Football comes from "Jerry Maguire" and "Any given sunday" :D )

I never understood why American Football is called football and not American Rugby... The mysteries of life :)
LP
Sat, Dec 5, 2015, 8:09pm (UTC -5)
The commenter who summed this episode up as "Worf joins the Teaparty" made my day, and made watching this episode endurable because Fullerton kept reminding me of it.
Jason R.
Mon, Dec 14, 2015, 11:35am (UTC -5)
I will have to re-watch this episode, as I don't recall it being that bad. Don't get me wrong, it's certainly not a good episode by any stretch. It's just a forgettable mediocrity. Basically a solid 1 1/2 to 2 star outing.

How this belongs in the same category as Threshold or Spock's Brain baffles me.
methane
Mon, Dec 21, 2015, 9:01pm (UTC -5)
I will probably comment on this episode in another post, but for some reason I feel obliged to comment on the sports discussion first.

On spectator sports, I there is merit in that it can channel people's innate tendencies to form groups ("us" vs. "them") into an activity that is inherently meaningless and, therefore, mostly harmless. Rather than dividing ourselves by race, class, religion, or nation, we divide ourselves according to which team we support. Professional sports are better than events like the Olympics or the World Cup, as they can reinforce Nationalism. Exceptions to this are teams (chiefly in European soccer) that divide up people according to religion or class.

On the relative merits of soccer...I'm an American who grew up playing the sport and was quite good at it. As an adult, I've lived on a few different continents & occasionally played some games with people from countries where it is the biggest sport around. I find it an enjoyable sport to play, although my knees wouldn't let me participate anymore.

As a spectator sport, I don't rate it highly at all. I'd rank may sports ahead of it, including non-American sports like Rugby, Australian Rules Football, & Water Polo. That said, I do occasionally watch my university's soccer team play on TV or online. Of course, I also occasionally watch the volleyball team, the softball team, the tennis teams, etc.

"more and more people like soccer in the US (probably because of all the brain destruction in american football ?)"

If you're worried about brain destruction, don't play soccer. At least, don't play in a league that allows heading. Repeated low-level impacts are bad for your brain.
methane
Mon, Dec 21, 2015, 9:05pm (UTC -5)
Above,

"On spectator sports, I there is merit in that it can ..."

should be:

"On spectator sports, I believe there is merit in that it can..."
Peed off
Tue, Dec 22, 2015, 5:26pm (UTC -5)
I've never watched DS9 before and have been going through the series from the beginning. I've never commented but feel the need to comment on this episode.
It is fucking awful.
Christ.
What does that Essentialist moron actually think he'll achieve? Why they didn't just shout him down I don't know.

This show has been getting better and better, I'm thoroughly enjoying it, If this is the turning point and it goes to shit please tell me now so I can stop watching.
Luke
Wed, Dec 23, 2015, 9:30am (UTC -5)
@ Peed off

This is definitely the worst episode of DS9 (though an upcoming episode toward the end of Season Six really gives it a run for its money) but please, for the love of God or whatever you find holy, I beg you not to let it keep you from watching the rest of the show.

If you've been enjoying DS9 up until now, I can almost guarantee you'll like the rest.
Del_Duio
Wed, Dec 23, 2015, 12:00pm (UTC -5)
@ Peed off

Listen to Luke, he's right on the money as far as the overall greatness of DS9. And also "Profit and Lace" which is the super bad episode coming up in Season 6. I'd say it's actually worse than this one. At least you have Dax and Leeta in swimsuits here haha.
Peed off
Thu, Dec 24, 2015, 9:31am (UTC -5)
Cheers guys I will
methane
Thu, Dec 24, 2015, 9:32pm (UTC -5)
On the episode:

-The Leeta/Bashir & Quark stuff wasn't well done comedy (and you can tell Siddig was off his game)...but I wouldn't say it was horrible, and the idea of a "breaking-up ceremony" had potential.

-Jadzia & Worf having difficulties as a couple is an obvious idea...seeing them work out their differences is obviously necessary if we're to buy the 2 as a long-term couple, but their arguments were not well written. (Worf's soccer speech was OK)

-the "essentialists" were a good idea, but, again, poorly done. They needed to have their viewpoint challenged more strongly by others, which, in turn, requires them to have a sharper message themselves.

So that's 2 sets of "interesting ideas" poorly done, plus some comedy that falls flat. If it was just that, this might have been a 1-1.5 star episode. A failed experiment, but not disastrous.

Unfortunately, the episode doesn't stop there. It has Worf go and sabotage public property! Even if the planetary authorities weren't pressing charges, Starfleet would hear about it (it isn't something that could be kept quiet, and there are evidently lots of officers who vacation there), and Worf should probably be kicked out of Starfleet. The fact that Worf was mostly doing it just to annoy Dax is mind-boggling.

So....I think we're all better off pretending this episode never happened. Leeta & Bashir broke up somewhere off-screen (they were barely a couple on-screen, so that's not a problem), and Jadzia & Worf are slowly progressing in their relationship off-screen as well.
William B
Fri, Dec 25, 2015, 4:17pm (UTC -5)
I am getting a few episodes ahead of myself here, but: First off, Nathan B. is absolutely correct in his assessment of what this episode is attempting to do, and I very much appreciate his positive perspective on this episode. I think he had his finger on the episode's pulse, so to speak. With that said, and acknowledging that the episode had some noble objectives, and acknowledging that it succeeded at least for some viewers, my personal impression of this episode is that it really is the abysmal failure that most people on here believe it to be. Nathan B.'s description of the honourable intentions in this episode do give me pause, because I see everything he is saying about the episode, to a degree. At core, this is a story about Worf's attraction to fundamentalism which results from tragic experiences closing him off to the joys of life, with the apparent decadence of Dax and Risa holding the positive influence that allow him to begin living again. Not only do I think that's an interesting idea, I think its one many people can relate to, and it goes to the core of what the Worf/Dax arc (such as it is) attempts to do. It's a character story, and it's an attempt to depict how fragmentation of culture and understanding results in what should be loving being broken into extreme oppositions, decadence vs. fundamentalism instead of a balance of responsibility and pleasure, work and play. I can see what they were going for, in that sense; even the aspects of the episode that are the most grating on a conceptual level -- the "what can we get away with?" half-hearted desire to show as much skin as possible, the ludicrous aspects of the Essentialists' message and the ways in which they line up with other excesses in the show generally -- are highlighting the central philosophical/personal conflict.

All that said, I really did find this episode startlingly terrible, unfunny, unsexy, unengaging. I want to find a way to describe it without being unkind to the intentions behind the show -- which had some merit -- or to the rare but important fans who did respond to it. It's hard loving that which is so frequently hated, and the episode has been torn apart enough that I don't really need to be vitriolic. Still, with the usual "in my opinion" caveats assumed: the opposing camps of Dax/Arandis/Risa and Worf/Fullerton/the Essentialists are so cartoonishly presented that everyone comes across not just badly but as totally insufferable. The decadence/Risa side is the more bearable, in that I have no problem with empty sex (or possibly meaningful sex -- who knows) as a concept but get very, very bored with long stretches of nothing but "fun" half-innuendoes and sub-Baywatch bodies on display with immature giggling at the ever-present possibility of Jamaharon. The Bashir/Leeta/Quark material largely reinforces the Risa-decadent-fun mentality, and the basic idea of viewing separation as cause for celebration as a way of forgoing pain, healing-through-pleasure, is conceptually interesting as the opposite of Worf's continued portentious "we have much to discuss" statements...but in practice, Siddig is (as methane says) off his game, Masteron is hard to watch (well, not hard on the eyes, but...), the flirting scenes are all awkward and the whole mislead about the nature of this trip for them sputters because Bashir/Leeta was never given anywhere near this much screentime when they were a real couple.

On the stodgy side, the Essentialists are very silly in execution -- those outfits! -- and I love the idea that Fullerton just spends every day on Risa for years preaching, waiting around for some dumb sap willing to listen to him. He went to Worf's *quarters*, do you realize that? Has he been waiting around for a Serious-Minded Officer for months and months? It is true that Fullerton is meant to be a villain, and so the various ways in which he reads as a caricature of the worst excesses of the fundamentalist movement are maybe not "flaws" in the episode exactly -- for instance, that he preaches hard work when it seems that all he does is hang around telling people, most of whom seemingly have real jobs, that they're assholes for taking vacations. The first raid is funny -- I like the guy who is holding a rifle completely sideways -- and I think it's particularly ludicrous how Fullerton goes from speeches to LET'S EARTHQUAKE EVERYONE and backhanding Worf for...? in a day or two. They do set him up initially as a pompous windbag rather than actually dangerous -- "ponderous academic" is his own self-description -- and the escalation is pretty extreme. But there are extremists who act like normal people, even if the idea that Fullerton spent so long doing nothing and escalated so suddenly is hard to believe.

But really it's the central couple who are the episode's major problem, and I have been spending some time teasing out why the Dax/Worf material rubs me so wrong. Dax herself comes across badly, insisting Worf go with her to her preferred vacation spot seemingly knowing it will make him super-uncomfortable and with little discussion with him, constantly yelling at him about "controlling her life" while she criticizes most of his decision, deliberately baiting him (I WILL DRINK JUICE THAT WILL MAKE MY SPOTS ITCH WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THAT WELL I LIKE IT!) and then snapping at him when he rises to meet her. It is not that Dax' behaviour is so outlandishly terrible, which it isn't; it's insensitive and annoying. But I think that what bothers me is that the episode borrows the romantic comedy "they must meet in the middle" structure for a battle-of-the-sexes story, but the follow-through basically confirms that Dax did nothing wrong and all the problems lay with Worf, and misidentifies what Jadzia's actual "problems" are to boot. Jadzia talks about how Worf is frustrated that she is impulsive and "lacks self-control," but in fact, the idea that Jadzia fails to look before she leaps does not come across in this episode at all; Jadzia seems to know exactly what she wants to do at almost every stage, and has a supreme confidence borne of lifetimes of living, to the point where she has no regrets even about the event established in-episode (Curzon's death-by-Jamaharon) that thematically might have been most significant. All Dax's unwillingness to examine how her behaviour *and expectations* of Worf make her uncomfortable get folded into the issue that Worf should trust her with ex-lovers. I will get to Worf shortly and I don't want to suggest that Dax shouldn't see ex-lovers (or ex-lovers of past hosts) socially; that really *is* Worf's dysfunction. But I think Jadzia does demand Worf be someone he is not without acknowledging that she is falling into the same trap he is, and all the ways in which Worf is wrong to control Jadzia skip around this issue.

(I think SFDebris has a good rundown of Jadzia's semi-controlling behaviour. Skimming the transcript, Dax: 1. chooses the vacation they go on, 2. chooses to tell everyone why Worf is upset (regarding her Captain Boday dinner) when Worf wanted it to be private, in front of Worf no less, 3. also talks about Worf behind his back, 4. repeatedly tells/implies Worf should get out of his uniform, 5. instructs Worf to put on his swimsuit, which seemingly she got him and is clearly *not* the type of swimsuit he would be comfortable wearing on what is, let's remember, his body, 6. tells him to stop reading the Essentialist pamphlet, 7. tells him that it's none of his business what Leeta does as if she was not frequently gossipping, 8. criticizes him for attending the Essentialists rally. Now, to be clear, I am not all that down on Dax for these, except insofar as she constantly indicates that Worf is controlling her -- and making decisions about what Worf should wear and what he should read and what he talks about are pretty similar to the assertions that Worf makes about her, but only Worf's behaviour is treated as a problem.)

Additionally, it is true that Jadzia is at times dangerously impulsive, but the itchy-spots problem is not really the same category as her romantic impulsivity in Meridian or Rejoined. Rejoined was a bit hard for me to pin down, but it did some work to pin down why this relationship mattered so much to her. Meridian did none of that. Either way, Dax was basically willing to give up the whole rest of her life for those relationships, or at least a large part of it (all her friends and sixty years of history in Meridian, her whole future as host in Rejoined). She has also had casual flings, or we are led to believe this (evidence in previous episodes was actually pretty sketchy). So what kind of relationship does she have with Worf -- is it the casual fling one, or the one where she gives up her whole life with little thought to the consequences? Or both? Neither? I like Looking for par'mach... okay (more on that when I get back to it), but the big mark against Dax/Worf in that episode is the way Dax sulks about Worf failing to notice her not-obvious-to-Worf come-ons, initiates aggressive sex which traditionally leads to marriage, and then only afterward starts hemming and hawing about what she actually wants their relationship to be. Now, some of this ground was covered with K'Ehleyr in The Emissary (and other spots), where Worf and K'Ehleyr also had that mating-sex and Worf was confused and angry afterward that K'Ehleyr did not want to be married, but, here's the thing, the episode established that Worf and K'Ehleyr had a long history and also went to a lot of trouble to indicate that K'Ehleyr only presented herself as held together, but was actually full of anger, barely able to work with Worf (and he with her) because of the intensity of her feelings, full of confusion and emotions she could barely control. When Jadzia has been truly impulsive in relationships before, she gave up her whole life; with Worf, she seems to have been building up her desire to have sex and maybe be going steady for months and then backtracks afterward.

Now, there is some suggestion that Jadzia is too crazy about Worf to think straight (she has that scene with Bashir and Quark talking about how she should see someone else but she wants Worf), but the possibly-fake confidence she has in all their scenes together, and the episode's implicit framing that Worf has to change and Jadzia has to stay constant in her surface-inconstancy-which-is-really-joie-de-vivre, really makes that hard to parse. It seems like she just KNOWS that they should be together, on her terms, without the actual reasoning being clear, and without how this is different from those romances she let herself get totally swept up in the last two years being examined. Which is to say, Jadzia's impulsivity is a real problem and a real reason for Worf to worry -- what is to say she won't suddenly decide she needs to marry Worf right now, or suddenly run off with a past-life lover (she was willing to doom her symbiont to never rejoining after a few days with Lenara!), but the implication that the whole of Worf's problem is that she is just so crazy she sometimes does wacky silly things and skinny dips and makes jokes and drinks juice eradicates their history and, really, the extent to which Jadzia's identity confusion has been built up over the series. It really is kind of the result of the show's shift in arc for Jadzia -- nearly all the Jadzia episodes up to Rejoined were variations on how confusing it is to be a Trill, with constant crises of identity, and with several instances of being willing to die or give up everything for one-episode romances or past host pacts, then nearly all the Jadzia episodes after Rejoined being Worf/Dax episodes about how she's so impulsive and so crazy but where, really, Worf has to learn to loosen up and accept her as she is, and she becomes a kind of constant, wise young/old woman, where the identity uncertainty is mostly just incidental.

Now. Worf. Lest it seem like I was hard on Jadzia earlier, I do want to say that Worf is far worse in this episode, basically from top to bottom. I find Jadzia obnoxious and I think that the episode seems unaware of either her flaws or of the way the fundamental assumptions within the episode contradict the way her character was portrayed before the run-up to Worf/Jadzia as couple. But Worf is actively mean, racist, bigoted, small, stupid, to begin with; and then, to continue, his attitude runs in pretty direct conflict with his character up to this point. If some of the assumptions about Jadzia seem to me to be obnoxious, I feel like everything about Worf here is either wrong or, more precisely, takes some of Worf's traits and exaggerates them without the proper counterbalances. Worf is a dreadful bore throughout the episode, from the beginning. He is not just rude, but incredibly racist -- about the transparent skull guy, saying "tell the Ferengi..." re: Quark. He continues to act as if Jadzia is cheating on him with no evidence. He wants to leave until she removes clothing and then he wants to stay, undermining his higher aspirations. He talks about how Jadzia's actions reflect badly on him. Now, up until the halfway point of the episode, a lot of this stuff didn't bother me all that much because i did not really believe that Jadzia actually cared what he told her -- she did, yes, get kind of sad and mopey at times, but largely she seemed pretty able to shrug it off, so that there wasn't all that much damage actively done. Indeed, some of Worf's brattiness in this section maybe seems to be, like Jadzia's juice thing, a passive-aggressive way of baiting her into some kind of real reaction, upping his frustrated statements until she finally showed directly that he was bothered by him. That doesn't exactly make things better, but being a jerk partly because one does not really believe that another person cares enough about you to be hurt (and based on Jadzia's seeming at times early in the episode to respond to Worf's bad attitude in a teflon way, nothing sticking) is different from being a jerk genuinely knowing one is hurting someone else -- it makes it all seem less real.

And then he joins a terrorist group. Up to that point, except for the threat that Worf would turn the Runabout around, Worf talked like a jerk but Jadzia mostly got her way anyway, and so it could easily be argued that he and Dax were trying to influence each other but not actually crossing consent boundaries. At this point, things take a big turn. Look, it's not that I can't imagine Worf falling in with fundamentalists under the right circumstances. Aspects of this story appear in The Drumhead, which is not about fundamentalism but does have Worf falling into the orbit of a charismatic person who turns out to be something of a zealot. Nor does Worf sabotaging the weather system by itself make its way onto the top worst things a Trek character has done. People got rained on, it really sucks for them, but no one died. The issue for me is that Worf really did ruin the days of hundreds of thousands of people as a temper tantrum because he's too annoyed to have a real conversation. As much as Worf might agree with the Essentialists in some of their messages, criminal activities are anathema to Worf, as established over years and years, and for him to sabotage a planet's weather pattern would require a very good reason. I would have to be convinced that Worf genuinely believes this "the Federation is decadent and needs a wake-up call" stuff -- which would mean I would require real set-up. Now, the recent tragedies in Worf's life actually could convincingly do this for me. For Worf to believe that the Federation needs more discipline is plausible in and of itself, and the loss of his Klingon status, the "death" of his brother, his having been convinced he had the blood of a whole shipful of civilians on his hands in Rules of Engagement, etc., are all pretty traumatic, devastating events which very strongly changed the way Worf viewed the world. I could similarly imagine something like his experience with the Jem'Hadar in To the Death, or Garak's willingness to commit genocide and Worf marginally stopping him (from ending the war!), affecting him on a deep level and make him convinced that some serious steps needed to be taken to alert the Federation to the dangers they are facing and to protect the Federation from themselves. I also think that romantic issues genuinely could trigger this in some way -- a divorce, for example, which in some way seemed to him to connect to his concerns about the weakness of the Federation.

The problem I have here is that Worf's interest in the Essentialists is basically made to be entirely about his sexual anxieties concerning Jadzia, which then disappear immediately after a pep talk with her. Teenagers and very young adults can change their minds quickly when exposed to new stimuli, but Worf is a grown adult, and for this level of change to happen very suddenly requires a comparably serious life event. And I get that the start of the relationship with Dax is meant to be a big deal, and that he finds himself in a lot of uncertainty. But I dunno. It still seems to me throughout the episode that the relationship is not quite serious enough to trigger Worf's disrupting the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, sabotaging public property, no doubt also leading to significant property destruction. I want to articulate this more clearly than I am now, but: the episode does not even sell that Worf *himself* believes that he is acting for any nobler reason than because that he's pissed off at Dax, nor do I find it remotely convincing that Worf even believes that Dax actually cheated on him, based on his behaviour. If Worf really believed Jadzia cheated on him with Arandis, despite his grouchiness I believe he really would confront her and talk about this, and demand, immediately, that they either end the relationship or push forward. His actions suggest to me that he really knows Dax did not cheat, and so she only embarrassed him again. In any case, Worf takes out on the whole planet his frustrations with Dax acting in an annoying way. And I do think that adult, LIEUTENANT COMMANDER, FIRST OFFICER OF THE FEDERATION'S FOREMOST WARSHIP, should be able to distinguish between his belief that Dax is not taking his relationship seriously, and the whole of the planet of Risa.

Now, if Worf can't handle Dax doing phallic clay sculptures with the woman who killed her last host with Jamaharon, well, that is one thing. I do think that Worf finding the situation uncomfortable does not even in itself reflect *that* badly on him; I think lots of people would find Dax's closeness with an ex of sorts, particularly given Jadzia's history, a bit hard to deal with. I am not advocating that Worf should control her, but Dax's personality maybe just is not the right fit for Worf's here, and so maybe this would be a "let's call the whole thing off" moment -- not as punishment for Jadzia's actions, but as a simple recognition that their values/ways of seeing the world are too different for a reasonable relationship. But Worf neither acts on a belief that Dax is cheating on him, NOR even that her behaviour makes him too uncomfortable and is too different from what he wants, and that he should bow out of the relationship. He zigs into the big-deal Essentialist terrorist action, without taking action with Dax. And I don't actually buy it; I don't buy that Worf believes that Risa is the reason for Dax's behaviour (since she made him uncomfortable with Boday earlier). I don't buy that Worf, who willingly came to Risa, would start to scapegoat the whole planet at this point, while on vacation. And despite the frequent WE WOULD BE MARRIED NOW, I don't buy that the Worf/Dax relationship at this point is so emotionally painful for Worf that he would nearly-consciously displace his frustration with that relationship onto a criminal activity.

And if Worf really believed this Essentialist stuff enough to shut the whole planet down, I don't believe that this conversation with Dax would be enough to turn him around to full-on reverse himself. Worf's "I believe you will find me quite rational!" assertion that people leaving their vacation because their vacation is no longer fun proves his point is mind-boggling, as if there were a reason these visitors were on Risa in the first place besides that it were comfortable, and as if that had some significance, PARTICULARLY since the whole point is that being on vacation is the whole problem Worf sees. (Wouldn't people's willingness to leave their vacation planet and go back to their lives disprove Worf's "point"?) Worf completely reverses himself, to the point of throwing Fullerton against a wall and declaring that he is on vacation, at which point he starts enjoying the Risian vacation time, with great weather, because lots of Risians worked hard to repair the weather grid that Worf sabotaged. This kind of inconstancy is really worrying for someone who is ostensibly fit to command a starship. More to the point, Worf's act of sabotage is, again, a criminal action, which, as far as I can tell, goes not only unprosecuted, but which is allowed to continue; no one even insists on getting the damn uplink back from Fullerton. Given that Fullerton stated earlier on that he thinks that the Federation is too weak to prosecute him, or whatever, maybe this is meant to refer back to this idea, but the thing is I simply don't believe the depiction of the Federation, which mobilizes so often and so quickly, would be unable even to ask Fullerton and Worf to give back their sabotaging trinket.

Then comes Worf's soccer speech. In some ways, I feel about this similar to how I feel about Dark Page and the tragic backstory of Kestra's death. I get the intention to some extent, and I am not positive I'm against it, but mostly I think it's a tragic backstory which is somewhat inconsistent with the portrayal we have been given and, more importantly, is actually redundant. Worf acted non-restrained very frequently on TNG, in a way that does not quite work if he killed a guy during soccer. But mostly this is meant to explain everything about Worf in this episode, when previous episodes, in particular Redemption, already examined Worf's humourlessness and lack of joie de vivre without the need to introduce new tragedies in addition to the primary defining ones of his life -- his father's death, his feelings of alienation as a child, his difficulty in controlling himself among humans in general, his conflict with Nikolai, his conflict with K'Ehleyr, etc. Guinan called Worf on his lack of joie de vivre in Redemption, so it is not unique to this episode. There are some positives to the soccer incident as symbol for Worf's general difficulty among people weaker than him, but it seems like an unnecessary addition which needlessly complicates earlier stories for him and is not all that different from what we already knew about him to justify the episode's placement of it as some central key to his behaviour in this episode. That said...I will try to grant the episode its point long enough to talk about it more closely. Worf, enjoying life without discipline, is dangerous and can hurt people around him. He keeps himself tightly controlled as a result, and he both idealizes Klingon culture, where he is not actually welcome, where he could let loose, even though in reality (Redemption, e.g.) he could not really let himself loose in Klingon life either. He is critical of people who live their lives without proper discipline, but much of this is a kind of envy, combined with self-laceration. However...in some respects, that Worf can so readily call up this childhood formative tragedy when Jadzia but asks undermines the idea that it is so repressed as to control his behaviour without him realizing it.

And then Worf throws Fullerton against the wall after Fullerton backslaps him! Here again I want to respond directly to Nathan B.'s point. It is true that this was a payoff to Worf's arc over the episode, and established that Worf has internalized the lesson that he can trust not just Jadzia, *but himself*, to let loose now and again. "I am on vacation." One detail I also like is that Apocalypse Rising established the backhand as a challenge to a fight to the death, which means that in that sense Worf was in fact going easy on Fullerton. And yet the moment still really seems bizarre and inappropriate; Fullerton is basically thrown across the room and Worf's feelings of confidence come in his ability to do excessive violence right after his story about how he killed a kid. Worf does not seem all that controlled in his throw of Fullerton, but seems to basically decide not to self-monitor that much, because on vacation it doesn't really matter if he kills someone or not. I am only kind of joking; the idea here is that Worf can moderate his behaviour and use some violence without it being deadly, but the specific resonance with his previous tale with the worried look of the Bolian lieutenant and the violent image of Fullerton hitting the wall (and being held up by the lapels!) is pretty extreme. As for Nathan B.'s point that Worf throwing Morn to the ground in Looking for par'mach... was not all that different...well, I do see the point. But it's important to note that the series has set up Morn as somewhere between character and prop for years, so that harm that comes to him is always *not* to be taken seriously. His body looks indestructible and his outfit seems to be all padding. And when O'Brien got Quark to install the dartboard it was established that Morn barely notices darts going into his skin -- so that the series has basically established Morn as being someone who barely notices or feels injuries, except perhaps in a confused comic way. I acknowledge that dismissing the Morn throw as a comic beat rather than a dangerous action on the basis that Morn is weird looking and treated as a comic character by the writers is somewhat problematic, but I think that the show has spent a lot of time establishing what conventions surround Morn by this point and Worf's behaviour was consistent with that (and s6's Who Mourns for Morn? is a whole episode playing with the conventions around a silent bit player.)

Really, as a Worf/Dax show, it ultimately fails in one very crucial respect: it fails to make any case for the relationship. Looking for par'mach..., which I like, gave an argument for their relationship to BEGIN, but it did not make any argument for the relationship to continue. By having Worf ruin hundreds of thousands of lives over a temper tantrum over this relationship, where Dax and Worf constantly try to change each other, by having even their sex life, which is most frequently portrayed in a positive way, leave them with scars and lacerations, the episode really just makes these two look deeply unhappy being even near each other, let alone being in a relationship which is becoming serious and life-altering. Based on this episode, it really would seem that they should stay away from each other lest they destroy themselves and a few other hundred thousand as collateral damage. And since this is the first episode to depict them together (as opposed to "not together" or "getting together at the episode's end"), there is nothing from previous episodes to counterbalance this impression. Fortunately, at least, while I am not exactly wild about many of the future episodes about those two, none of them are so painful and undermine the idea of these two as couple as this one. If I squint and look at Worf and Dax's actions as entirely metaphorical, the episode is not quite so bad...but I have to basically ignore the episode as is, in which Dax comes off very badly, and Worf abominably.

I do think that the episode has some good concepts, which maybe could have worked. And I am glad that there are some people for whom this episode does work. As is, though, I do find the episode disastrous, and perhaps the worst episode in the series. 0.5 stars from me -- I think there is enough worth in the underlying ideas to stave off the 0 star rating (which I have not given yet).
Robert
Sat, Dec 26, 2015, 2:09am (UTC -5)
@William B - I've never really been able to really pinpoint why I hate this so much for Worf's terrorism when I've probably let other characters get away with worse but I think your two pronged Worf is literally so anti crime that he is one of the last characters you'd expect to break the law and that he really only does it to piss on Dax's vacation because he's annoyed at her.

We're not talking Tom trying to save the water planet or O'Brien letting Tosk out or even Worf disobeying Picard to go with Riker to the J'Nai homeworld to retrieve Soren (I think that was it's name). Those instances each had the characters deep belief in whatever they were breaking the rules for feel like they came organically from those characters. This did not.
William B
Sun, Dec 27, 2015, 10:18am (UTC -5)
@Robert, yes. I spent some time thinking about why this bothers me more than most (not all) other examples of main characters doing objectionable things. It is not just the scale of the event. By some moral measurements, killing Duras was worse for Worf, insofar as it was murder by Federation (if not Klingon) law -- but of course, we know exactly what his reasoning there is, and it's I think a lot easier, indeed, for most people to understand. It's the combination of scale and caprice that really hurts this action, at least for me, as well as the particulars of Worf's character. And, again, I feel like if Worf really believed that he should rain on people's parade for the good of the Federation, he would have more follow-through.
Diamond Dave
Tue, Jan 19, 2016, 1:57pm (UTC -5)
From the sublime to the ridiculous. The big problem here is how artificially Worf is turned from jealous asshat to terrorist in a few short minutes. It seems like such a character shift you have to wonder what they were thinking. The interminable relationship arguing didn't help either - until Worf's story, which actually contains a kernel of truth and shines out as something that this episode could have centered on.

All that said, for a young teenager watching this as broadcast a whole episode of Dax in a swimsuit was just about the greatest thing in the history of the universe. "Do not hug me" indeed. 1.5 stars cos it's better than Fascination, at least.
petulant
Thu, Jan 28, 2016, 3:26am (UTC -5)
Great episode, from the comments here i can see the episode tricked a lot of the less observant viewers
Luke
Sat, Apr 30, 2016, 2:36am (UTC -5)
Wow. That sure de-escalated quickly. In back-to-back episodes we go from what many viewers and critics consider one the franchise's cremes-of-the-crop immediately to what is almost universally considered one of the franchise's absolute worst. I'll be honest, ever since I started these reviews of "Deep Space Nine" I've been really looking forward to absolutely savaging "Let He Who Is Without Sin...". That alone should probably tell you how awful it is. But you know what? After my, shall we say - thorough, critique of "Bar Association", I just don't have the energy to do something similar here. Mostly that's because just about everyone realizes that "Let He Who Is Without Sin..." is an absolute abominable mess, so what's really the point of offering a scene-by-scene or point-by-point rundown? So, I'll just focus on the main problems.

I've long said that this is the worst episode of "Deep Space Nine". Not even "Bar Association" is this bad. The only episode that might give it a run for that dubious honor is "Profit and Lace". However, "Profit and Lace" does, at least, have one - just one - funny moment, something that "Let He Who Is Without Sin..." completely lacks. There isn't a single thing about this episode that is praise-worthy. First off, let me just point you to something said in "The Deep Space Nine Companion" (and on Memory Alpha). Apparently, Ira Steven Behr and Robert Hewitt Wolfe think that the main problem with the episode is that the restrictions of "family entertainment" and a five o'clock airtime in some markets meant that it couldn't be as sexy as they originally planned. Yes, they honestly think the problem is that the episode ISN'T SEXY ENOUGH! I'll just leave you good people to think about that little nugget of information for a while while I go do something much more productive, like bang my head into a wall fifty times.

The problem most certainly isn't a lack of tits and ass. It's that all five main characters (Dax, Worf, Bashir, Leeta and Quark) are tuned into completely unlikable caricatures of themselves only to then have those caricatures undergo massive doses of character assassination! Dax becomes a whinging, spoiled child (I won't get into the details as SFDebris and William B have already more than adequately expounded on Dax's total hypocrisy in this episode). Worf commits what can only be called a terrorist act just because he's upset with his girlfriend. Bashir, always a skirt chaser, morphs into someone who is only interested in getting laid as often as possible. Leeta goes from being an amiable airhead to a complete and utter dipshit. And Quark also morphs into a horn-dog. There's your problem, writers! It's not that you put Terry Farrell in a one-piece swimsuit instead of a string bikini; it's that you utterly destroyed your own characters. The only people to escape from this disaster with their dignity intact were Nana Visitor, Colm Meaney and Cirroc Lofton, only because they don't appear in the episode.

Secondly, the episode fails because it sets up a total false dichotomy. Here, we are presented with a choice between the shallowness of the Risians and the stuck-up, hardcore puritanism of the Essentialists. No moderate voices are ever given a hearing. No one ever pipes up and says, "Hey, this Fullerton guy is a complete jackass and I would never condone his methods, but he may have a point about our decadence. Perhaps all this meaningless sex is a dangerous distraction." No. Instead, the writers spend the entire episode telling us what to think. And what message do they want us to take away from "Let He Who Is Without Sin..."? That social conservatives are bitter, hateful people who (as Vanessa Williams flat out says) just need a good fucking - oh, I'm sorry, a good jamaharoning - to be cured of their hang-ups. Well, you know what? Jamaharon you, writers! I'm not a social conservative but I absolutely hate straw-man arguments. And that is all the Essentialists are - straw-man versions of social conservatives. But what is most sad about this aspect of the episode is that I can see a nugget of a good idea buried in the Essentialists. Like with TOS: "The Way to Eden", with it's space hippies, there was a chance to view the Federation in a new light. Have people from your own camp criticize the way things are being done and offer a new vision. Thereby, the characters might actually learn something about themselves or become better people than they were before. But instead, the execution of that idea - like with "The Way to Eden" - is so horrifyingly bad that viewing it is like spending forty-five minutes watching someone slowly drool into a toilet.

Thirdly, when you stop and think about it, Risa, as a concept, makes no damn sense! Are we honestly supposed to believe that Risians have ZERO standards for who they're attracted to? Or do they simply think that every single person they encounter is sexy? Because all Quark has to do is wave a couple of Horgons in the faces of two random, extremely attractive, passing women and they immediately run off with him to jump his bones all night long. Look, this may make some people uncomfortable, but I'm going there. People naturally have standards for who they want to fuck. And there's nothing wrong with that! If Melissa McCarthy or the mom from "Honey Boo Boo" wants to have sex with me, they're going to be sorely disappointed. If Risians everywhere are willing to jump in the sack with anybody (and not just the women - apparently Leeta has no problem getting a Risian male to screw her), then this really begins to look awfully like culturally enforced prostitution. Personally, I'm against forcing people into prostitution. How about you?

WORST! EPISODE! YET!

0/10
William B
Sat, Apr 30, 2016, 4:13am (UTC -5)
@Luke, I agree with everything here and I think you are almost certainly right about Behr and Wolfe, another part of me thinks that literally any change would have to have made the episode better.

I think B or W said at some point that the idea was that they did want to make the audience uncomfortable as well as titillate, and did want to explore whether Risa was a screwed up place and give some credence to Fullerton. I believe that they didn't intend to set up as much of a strawman as they did, and if they think that more nudity would make Fullerton seem like less of a psycho somehow then, well, sure, maybe. I'm pretty doubtful that would have done much good, though....

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