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

"Do not hug me." — Worf to Bashir

Review Text

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 clichés 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

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Comment Section

245 comments on this post

    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.

    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'.

    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??

    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.

    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.

    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! :)


    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

    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.

    This episode isn't great but it's hardly the outrage it's being made out to be.

    Well, then, the same can be said for TNG's "Shades of Grey"

    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.

    It's episodes like this that gave DS9 it's not-so-endearing nicknames of "Melrose Space" or Deep Space 90210."

    Yes, well, sorry for quoting, but I could never have come up with something that good on my own!

    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

    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.

    This episode and ENT's Two Days And Two Nights really are the one-two punch to Risa.

    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.

    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!


    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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

    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.

    @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.

    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.

    @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.

    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.

    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.

    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).

    1,5 stars from me. It's definately not the worst episode in the series (not even close).

    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.

    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...

    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.

    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.

    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...

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.)

    This episode is not very memorable. Some of the TOS episodes are far, far worse however - though nostalgia allows us to overlook them.

    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.

    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.

    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...

    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?

    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.

    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.


    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.

    " 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.

    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.

    Hey...does anybody remember that internet meme with the image of Picard doing a face-palm?


    Zero stars.

    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.

    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.

    "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!

    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.


    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".

    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?

    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-.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    @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.

    @Robert - 'I like DS9 as much as the next guy.'

    As long as the next guy isn't Elliot. ;o)

    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.)

    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.


    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

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.


    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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'!

    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.

    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.

    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.

    @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.

    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.

    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.

    "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/

    @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 :)

    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?


    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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. :)

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    "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 :)


    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.

    @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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    @ 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.


    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 :-)

    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.

    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.

    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?

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.


    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.

    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 :)

    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.

    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.

    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.


    "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..."

    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.
    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.

    @ 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.

    @ 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.

    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.

    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. 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).

    @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.

    @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.

    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.

    Great episode, from the comments here i can see the episode tricked a lot of the less observant viewers

    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?



    @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....

    I found Quark to be the only entertaining thing about this episode.

    It is amazing that of all five main characters, the writers picked Quark - their favorite whipping boy - of all people for the least amount of character assassination (relatively speaking).

    This episode sums up Jadzia's overall "outgoing" flirtatious attitude and how even though they somehow make it work, the idea that "opposites attract" never seemed to work with Worf and Dax in my view.

    Worf was devoted to Dax and the fact Klingon marriages are usually more about loyalty and tradition than Human/Trill marriages which are often more open and less formal, Dax should have known Worf would be like this so I don't see why she acts so surprised, she wants Worf to remain his strong, warrior self yet at the same time she wants to mold him into her own person outgoing, laidback macho man. It's either one or the other.

    I feel in this episode Dax acts like her and Worf are just "having a fling" whilst Worf almost considers her his wife already, so granted there should be some leeway between the two but I feel Dax has already had lifetimes of fun and relaxation, if she wanted to fall in love with a Klingon, knowing full well what their society is like seeing as shes an expert on Klingon culture, she should have been prepared to change her attitude toward it but she had a very Human attitude of "I should be allowed to do whatever I want and you should want to do that to even if you don't actually want to."

    Despite Worfs involvement with the terrorising conservative type people, I still feel Worf had the right viewpoint in this one. He shouldn't have to fundamentally change his attitude to suit someone who isn't willing to change theirs. It's the same later on with "You Are Cordially Invited" when Jadzia acts like a spoilt brat because she doesn't want to go through with a Klingon ceremony that she knew full well she would have to go through.

    Any episode that takes place on Risa is almost certainly a loser. The Risa episodes are specifically written to appeal to the sex fantasies of virginal teenage boys.

    So, I didn't particularly mind this episode. Sure, Worf's actions were completely out of character and probably would have gotten him court-martialed, and his acting was unusually bad but the soccer speech gave some insight into him.

    There are episodes that I actively hate while watching them. This was not one of them.

    Oh, I know why -- no Keiko, Miles, or Molly. It deserves one start just for that.

    I skipped this ep on my original viewing of DS9 when I saw the Jammer rating. It remains to this day the only DS9 ep I haven't seen (I watched 15 min of Profit and Lace before stopping to check Jammers rating - I am so glad I did; it saved me a half hour of my life). Just reading the Memory Alpha summary makes me cringe. Ugh! Who the heck thought this was a good idea?! I'm with the majority, this is one of Treks worst.

    Quarkissnyder above is right; Worf should have gotten court martialed and Dax's behavior was way out of character. I'm just glad we got "Change of Heart" in Season 6 to somewhat redeem this piece of garbage. I feel sorry for anyone who suffered though it.

    Agony Booth did a hilarious recap of this ep by the way.

    One of DS9's worst, one of ST worst. Worf commits an act of terrorism on a Federation world. First of all no matter what, Worf would never, ever do such a thing. Second of all, there is no way Starfleet wouldn't hear about it. Worf would have been court-martialed the moment he returned to duty. Just a terribly written episode.

    I think we can all agree that episode is crap. One thing I haven't seen mentioned yet though is Leeta's Bajoran break up ritual. As moronic as all that was, almost on par with the Elogium from Voyager, its funny how in "Children of Time" Kira and Shakaar broke up seemingly just because the Prophets said so. Kira certainly didn't look like she'd spent the last week getting f---ked every which way by random strangers to seal the break up...

    And another thing... I think it's commonly know that Terry Farrell has a skin condition that doesn't tolerate sunlight much (and I think prosthetic makeup) explaining why Dax was injured in "Rocks and Shoals" and why she got the spots and not the TNG Trill makeup, yet they have her doing the bathing suit beach stuff? Not that I'm complaining, just seems it would have been safer for her to send someone else (unless the beach was a set or something).


    This episode was filmed in Malibu, CA, which, if you're not familiar, is a very long strip of beach and parks. While Farrell's skin was a concern, the crew took steps to make sure there was always shelter by putting up tents along the beach during filming.

    Also, remember that it *rained* in this episode giving the production staff the option of filming at night.

    Frequently annoying but not terrible or painful ... I thought both plots were interesting, at least as concepts and in moments, but they both became too overdone, Worf was too character-assassinated and the plots really didn't work together in their conclusions. The whole style felt too smug too often even though Dax and Worf and their interactions were often pretty good and they went through at least some growth.

    What? No mention of the tragedy of Worf's formative years, when he headbutted another child to death? I feel guilty admitting this, but I actually laughed out loud when I realized where Worf's speech was going. This episode was a total mess, veering from a lighthearted romp about inter-species dating to a 'trouble in paradise' plot about really, really stupid terrorists, and finally a confessional about that time everyone's favorite Klingon murdered a playmate. This doesn't just deserve zero stars. You should have taken a few stars away from better episodes for sharing a season with it. Yuch.

    I read on the Agony Booth's autopsy of this episode that one of the writer's thoughts on this ep when it aired was "Please don't let this suck. Please don't let this suck."

    One of the few DS9 eps that has gone completely unwatched by me, and I don't intend to change that.

    As a neanderthal male, I question the testosterone count of any member of my gender who would give 0 stars to an episode featuring that much of Terry Farrell's legs and Chase Masterson's cleavage.

    Besides that, yes it was a paint-by-numbers type of episode but I enjoyed it as a harmless trifle, primarily because of being able to watch some of the DS9 regulars letting their hair down on R&R. And even though the Worf soccer story was kinda lame, I did like the fact that there was some attempt made to explain why Worf struggles to repress his Klingon instincts at times. Him being raised by human parents wasn't it, and again - I accidentally killed a kid on the soccer field isn't exactly the most interesting backstory - but give them a C minus at least for effort.

    How do we reconcile Curzon dying on Risa with the scene in Emissary where he seems to die moments after Jadzia gets his symbiont?

    Rewatch and puzzled by the zero stars as don't remember much about the episode and don't remember it being anything I'd hate. Was almost going to skip it given the opinions here but on watching it, no way it's zero stars. 1.5 or 2.

    Reason being. It's daft, full of holes maybe, but it's watchable and a bit of fun in places. Doesn't quite work but it's harmless.

    There are a number of episodes that are more highly regarded but I struggle to watch, especially when they don't serve any function like flash back episodes (bloody vision quests) or fillers like 11:59 that have nothing to do with Star Trek (okay, both Voyager). 11:59 in fact I'd give a zero for a Star Trek episode.

    Pfffft.... it's bad, but nowhere near as bad as people are making out. Most people that are ranting seem to be doing it as the show seems to disagree with their personal politics or some other nonsense.

    I agree Dax and Worf are acting way out of character and for me Worf's actions are unforgivable. I enjoyed Bashir, Leeta and Quark and any show that takes a shot at those who try and suck the fun out of life by enforcing their views on to others is alright by me.

    Zero stars is ridiculous, there are far worse episodes and many more dull ones - I'd go with 1.5 stars I think.

    Crikey, Jammer!

    The only thing worse than this episode are these spam posts!
    Maybe we need to change the Antispam question?

    "Dr.oyinbo you are a gifted man and i will not stop publishing him because he is a
    wonderful man. If you have a problem and you are looking for a real and
    genuine spell caster, Try him anytime, he is the answer to your problems."

    So I got this problem with poorly written internet scams and could use a spell caster right now. Think he'll help?

    Hello Everyone!

    I'd remembered I hadn't quite liked this episode first run, and wasn't really looking forward to seeing it on my re-watch. Heh, it was hard to get through.

    The only thing that really made me smile was Quark talking about all the diffeerent words they have for rain on Ferenginar. Glemmening. That was funny.

    It just didn't feel right for Dax to be pushing Risa, and everything else, into Worf's face. Seemed more like something to be done on a playground. What is she, five?

    It was mentioned some of this episode was meant to be funny. Apart from the Quark scene mentioned above (and a few of his others were cute too), this falls very flat. For me, I believe it was because Worf was in such a bad mood right from the get-go. His stern demeanor just cast a shadow over anything else. Sort of like "Hey! Your dog just died, now let me tell you a funny joke." It's just not going to work.

    I've been watching two or three episodes a week, interspersed with VOY and some other shows. When Lita and Julian showed up as a couple, I had to try really hard to remember they were one in the first place. But the show needed another couple to go with Jadzia and Worf, so they picked them after remembering they looked at each other once (with a smile). Of course the alternative would've been Miles and Keiko, who are about to have a Kara baby. Heh, can you imagine them on Risa? (Him: Let's get intimate. Her: Let's look at plants!)

    I didn't like how Worf was written as devious, making it rain just to get back at Dax, with the excuse that it was for the good of the people. Hogwash.

    I really like football and baseball, I really do. I like the history and the stories. But I cannot sit down and watch a game on teevee. My Cubs finally won the World Series, and I watched the games on double speed the next day. I might have one on in the background, or on the radio, but that's about it (now, if sitting at a bar, I can watch one, but... you know... beer). I think watching soccer to be about the same for me. On in the background, maybe, and I'll watch some highlights, but that's about it. Oh, I pull for Arsenal, for no good reason, and pulled for Leicester when they won.

    That being said, though it's been a long time, I've loved watching baseball in person. But part of that might have been... you know... beer... (mmm... Old Style...)

    Have a great day Everyone... RT

    P.S.: We had spam! I was shocked! Heh, I started reading it as if it was a real comment, since I wasn't considering there would be any here.

    I think we can all finally agree that Worf is the worst.

    Not only is he a douche with all his "Klingon Honor" crap, he's also an emotionally abusive, jealous boyfriend who wants to control the people Dax hangs out with (major red flag, ladies). To cap that, he joins a fundamentalist movement while on Risa. On Risa!

    It really lowers Dax in my opinion that she puts up with all his crap. I guess one of her old hosts must have been an abusive husband, and she feels like she has to atone for his crimes in this life.

    This episode should have gotten at least one star because of its complete Keiko-lessness, but was ruined by how thickly the Klingon was spread all over it.

    Yeah, Worf is the controlling one in this relationship. Sure.

    Dax, to paraphrase William B from upthread, ....
    1.) Chooses the vacation they go on.
    2.) Chooses to tell everyone why Worf is upset (regarding her dinner with Captain Boday) when Worf wanted it to be private, in front of Worf no less.
    3.) Constantly talks about Worf behind his back.
    4.) Repeatedly tells Worf to 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 gossiping.
    8.) Criticizes him for attending the Essentialists' rally.

    So, he went where she wanted to go, did what she wanted to do and was okay with her bad-mouthing him. All while she was telling him what he should wear, what he should read, what he should say and who he should time with. But he's the controlling one because he would prefer it if she didn't engage in clearly sexualized pastimes with a former lover (which she has no problem doing - pretty odd thing for such a *controlled* woman to do).

    We must have watched different episodes.

    @ Kelly,

    I hope DS9 helps you get over your Madness. This episode may not help as much, although I like it better than some others do.

    @Peter G:

    Hahahaha! If anything this spam bot should've opted for another episode. Strange out of all the combinations of series and episodes it happened to land on this dreaded example. IDIC indeed!

    A potential good idea very badly acted and very badly developed. I quote the review, word by word.

    So, is Worf a terrorist also? This sabotage

    On the Enterprise Worf was a complex and fascinating man. A righteous man.
    On DS9 he turned into a bi-polar dick. Worf brawling for nothing, Worf throwing out Morn because "that's my seat and I fall in love with Grilka, so am a crazy yelling Klingon", Worf throwing out Quark (as referred by Quark so, a little doubt) for an issue of beverages, Worf becoming a war criminal puppet (huh, yes, I assumed that "for the uniform" is a bad in-joke and a fake episode), Worf brawling with O'Brien and Bashit at Quark's Bar (because authors need somebody being a dick), Worf being a bi-polar dick searching for browls in almost any episode.

    Sincerely, my impression after this depictions of Worf is... Is that WORF IS A WILD/MAD DOG GOING ABSOLUTELY OUT OF CONTROL DUE TO THE LACK OF HIS TAMER: PICARD.

    Let's replicate a whip and a chair to Sisko :-D

    I remember reading the review years ago and that the bashing this episode got was hilarious. I'm not sure how sincere it was. But, no joke: while I'm not sure about what to make of the story after seeing it (again?): to me it wasn't nearly as bad as it was made out to be. Oh well, to each his own I suppose. :-)

    This episode is bad. Really really bad. Not even "so bad it's good". Just a thoroughly wretched experience watching it.

    I watched it again and i still say it's a great episode.
    Not only comforting to those of us who were unable to enjoy a vacation but interesting to see in places like this how many people will cast stones at the episode itself.

    Wow, this episode has a lot of comments! Yikes...

    Worf's story about his past really does a great job of explaining why he has been so careful over the past ten years, making sense of his comment in TNG "Yesterday's Enterprise" — "I would require a Klingon woman. Earth females are too fragile." It is a shame that Jadzorf (or Wadzia) ended up being so cliché. When you think about it, a woman with eight lifetimes of experience and a Klingon raised on Earth who suffered discommendation twice should have given the writers plenty of unique material to explore beyond "we fight all the time" and "Worf's jealous".

    Initially, in TNG "The Emissary", Worf's relationship was going to be with the Vulcan Dr. Selar (played by Suzie Plakson, the same actress who played K'Ehyler), which would have been interesting. But K'Ehyler was a great character, so it probably worked out for the best.

    Terrible episode. Nonsensical idea poorly executed. That anyone could even entertain the idea that the existence of a holiday planet could bring down the Federation is laughable. As is pointed out in the review - going on a holiday is a simple indulgence that I'm sure most species in the Star Trek universe enjoy. That's before you even get to the garish visuals, terrible acting and awful script (Worf's soccer story being a particularly bad example).

    Have to agree that this is worth zero stars.

    This is a pretty terrible episode obviously. For some reason Worf's soccer speech reminds me of the scene in Gremlins (spoiler alert!) where Phoebe Cates tells the story of her dad dressing up in a Santa costume and breaking his neck trying to slide down the chimney at xmas. Both are WTF? moments.

    I couldn't disagree with Jammer and the comments more. This was a very good episode. I think people disliking it speaks more to the Trek fandom than to the writers, and is a good predictor for why things like "Gamer Gate" have occurred in the nerd community.

    Primarily, this was a study of patriarchy and of how nerdy outsider men try to control women. Dax is a character who as a male in her past life as Curzon was known for being a very sexual person who loved to drink and flirt and joke around and have fun. Yet Jadzia as a woman is expected to not be sexual or fun or flirtatious whatsoever. The stick in the mud Worf expects her to be controlled by him, and be a trophy on his shoulder.

    This causes Worf to lash out at the entire community, to deny everyone this vacationing and sexual experience because he feels it doesn't conform to his traditional values. This is a great predictor of many of the problems we have today in the gaming and online nerd communities.

    It's also nice to see Trek explore a more sexual planet. Surely that would exist in this universe, correct? Many cultures throughout history have viewed sex differently than our more puritan based America.

    It's also nice to see that since war is coming to the federation, people are beginning to give themselves over to more "traditional values", which are often the beginning of leaning to more fascist ideals. Through fear that the dominion will come and invade (which predicts where the series is going soon), people are willing to give up certain leasures and comforts and habbits, and will want to cling to more strict ideals, out of fear.

    This was a very interesting episode that explored some very great socio-political concepts. But because so many Star Wars nerds are knee deep in patriarchal entitlement, the ep seems to have gone clear over their heads.

    Not like Baywatch at all.


    "This causes Worf to lash out at the entire community, to deny everyone this vacationing and sexual experience because he feels it doesn't conform to his traditional values. This is a great predictor of many of the problems we have today in the gaming and online nerd communities."

    This is an interesting conclusion, but I'm not seeing how these two things connect with each other. Are "nerd communities" controlling like Worf and Jadzia is the hypothetical beautiful woman they'll never be able to court?

    Honestly, I don't hate this one as much as many of the critics including Jammer do. Worf had been the fun police ever since he came to DS9, so it's nice that there's an episode that explores why that might be. Still, the story with the soccer match doesn't really seem to line up with what we know about Worf up until now. It also seems like Worf's rigidity needed to be taken to extremes for this episode to work. Like really, a decorated officer who puts duty and honor above all else is going to help some terrorists sabotage a Federation world?

    So yes, some good character ideas explored, but you need to sort of forget what you thought you knew about Worf for this one to work.

    I'm skipping over some of the fluff episodes during my rewatch; I don't really remember watching this one although I'm sure I did. I would have skipped it had it not been for Jammer's review - and indeed it was laughably abysmal. I made it about halfway through and then Julian was there in that awful outfit again and, I just couldn't...

    I never found Dax / Farrell interesting at all, arrogance is just so unattractive. But the swimsuit made her at least show off her best attributes. Why couldn't they make a happy episode about Risa where everyone has fun and Worf (who reminds me of the quintessential angry dad on family vacation) could have stayed home to guard the station.

    I always liked the idea of Worf, but he's almost never gotten a good episode, and most of the time he's just cliche. But as one writer pointed out, any woman who becomes evasive when asked to discuss their relationship is just being manipulative. I think that's why Dax doesn't make sense to me (until much later), she just seems without depth - the opposite of who her character is supposed to be. If she just wants a bed buddy, she ought to find someone compatible.

    “Yes, they honestly think the problem is that the episode ISN'T SEXY ENOUGH!“

    They might have a point there. They’re trying to depict Risa as a special pleasure land for sexual desires and yet it hardly comes off any more daring than a day at a public beach. Perhaps if Risa were depicted as advertised, we might be willing to side with the Essentialists’ and Worf’s protests to some degree.

    Another issue with it not being sexy enough is, even if they couldn’t make this a good episode storywise, it could have at least been a guilty pleasure to tune in to see our usually buttoned-down Starfleet crew engaged in some sci-fi-laden erotica. But alas, it fails on this level too.

    I think I know how they could’ve made this one work. Fullerton could’ve gone on escalating his tactics to get attention but instead of joining him, Worf should’ve spent his entire vacation trying to track down his movements and thwart him. That way you’d still get the same basic conflict of “Worf can’t enjoy himself because he takes work too seriously” versus Jadzia’s “I’m too laid back to take anything seriously”.

    Then the resolution could’ve been that Worf captures Fullerton but the Risans are too lax to prosecute. Consequently, Worf and Jadzia finally have a discussion where Worf realizes the futility of overworking and Dax comes to understand that Worf needs a vacation that caters to his Warrior ways better. Forget the soccer story.

    @ Chrome,

    In your version the episode then loses the actual discussion between Worf and Jadzia. Worf's whole point is that by luxuriating during a war Federation citizens aren't taking the threat seriously enough. More than just that, when faced with an existential crisis it doesn't seem like the Federation is willing to take security seriously enough to prevent harm. This is a counterpoint to Worf's personal position, which is that a relationship is a potential harm to him (especially after the K'ehleyr incident) and he wants certain kinds of assurances before he'll give himself away completely. He wants security and not just to luxuriate in the pleasures of it without thinking about tomorrow. So the episode as written is unified in this sense and I think it needs to keep that. What's wrong with it is that it doesn't tell this particular story well and instead ends up being very fluffy when it should have had a serious undertone.

    I think my better version of it would involve the Risian attitude causing a material security breach, justifying the "extremist" position. What if a starship captain taking some shore leave was so drunk or distracted that when a Jem'hadar ship comes to Risa to attack the pleasure planet (as a morale strike) the ship doesn't respond properly and the raid goes as planned. Then Worf could rightfully get all up in arms about how lax security will lose them the war, and the real debate could happen about whether it's reasonable to be so secure that you can't risk losing anything, in war and in a relationship. The message shouldn't have been that Jadzia is right - which is how is appears as it is and which I think is a bad message, since she isn't right - but rather that Worf needs to know there are risks in falling in love that come with no guarantee. Jadzia also should have come out learning that sometimes being careless can get people hurt and maybe it wouldn't be so bad to take things seriously sometimes.

    Ah well, I still don't hate the episode. And I seem to be the only one who enjoys the soccer story. It resonates strongly for me, because all too often I've found that it takes so much restraint in life not to offend, wound, or hurt people. The idea that a Klingon child would accidentally kill a human is totally believable and would certainly make sense as a formative event.

    @Peter G.

    “Worf's whole point is that by luxuriating during a war Federation citizens aren't taking the threat seriously enough. More than just that, when faced with an existential crisis it doesn't seem like the Federation is willing to take security seriously enough to prevent harm. This is a counterpoint to Worf's personal position, which is that a relationship is a potential harm to him (especially after the K'ehleyr incident) and he wants certain kinds of assurances before he'll give himself away completely. He wants security and not just to luxuriate in the pleasures of it without thinking about tomorrow. So the episode as written is unified in this sense and I think it needs to keep that. What's wrong with it is that it doesn't tell this particular story well and instead ends up being very fluffy when it should have had a serious undertone.”

    I think you’re merging Worf’s point with the extremist’s point, but the episode itself tells us that Worf was never really that interested in what the Fundamentalists were saying, but just using that as a tool to get Jadzia’s attention so she’d take him and his desire to discuss their relationship seriously. This is reinforced by Worf turning on a dime after Fullerton takes things too far leading to Worf knocking out Fullerton and dropping the Fundamentalist view.

    “I think my better version of it would involve the Risian attitude causing a material security breach, justifying the "extremist" position. What if a starship captain taking some shore leave was so drunk or distracted that when a Jem'hadar ship comes to Risa to attack the pleasure planet (as a morale strike) the ship doesn't respond properly and the raid goes as planned. Then Worf could rightfully get all up in arms about how lax security will lose them the war, and the real debate could happen about whether it's reasonable to be so secure that you can't risk losing anything, in war and in a relationship. The message shouldn't have been that Jadzia is right - which is how is appears as it is and which I think is a bad message, since she isn't right - but rather that Worf needs to know there are risks in falling in love that come with no guarantee. Jadzia also should have come out learning that sometimes being careless can get people hurt and maybe it wouldn't be so bad to take things seriously sometimes.”

    I think this is good, though it substantially changes the message of the episode (maybe for the better). And though I agree that Jadzia shouldn’t be totally right, this version would make Worf look 100% right so you’d need something in there to undermine him which forces him to learn about relationships from Dax.

    And yeah, it’s interesting, I’m not sure exactly why the soccer story rubs people the wrong way, but I think it’s that Worf already has enough baggage in his childhood without another enormous skeleton in his closet making him even more different not just from other Klingons but other Starfleet officers.

    I bashed this episode pretty hard when doing the watch of the show a few years ago, but I agree that the intent isn't really terrible. The thing is, the structure should be a kind of classically-constructed dual-protagonist romance story where the two partners start far apart but are still attracted to something in the other, and both learn something from the other. Superficially, Worf is unable to have fun and Jadzia is unable to take things seriously, and these superficial traits are true to an extent, but underlying it is mostly a failure of communication. Worf believes that Jadzia, because she's so flighty and fun-loving, doesn't take their relationship seriously; Jadzia believes that because Worf is so serious, that he has no joie de vivre. But Jadzia does take the relationship seriously and Worf does want to enjoy life, it's just that they express these things in ways so far apart that they are unable to really recognize it, initially.

    And it does seem that the reasons are because of some formative experiences that the two are running from. Jadzia, pre-Dax symbiont, was super-serious and studious and unable to let loose, and so she is attracted to and also repulsed by these qualities in Worf; for her, the biggest lesson that came with the Dax symbiont (mostly from Curzon) was that life is worth actually living. She probably took this lesson so much to heart that it overwhelmed the Jadzia in her. And having learned that things shouldn't always be serious, she assumes that this is the lesson everyone else needs to learn, all the time. Worf was a fun-loving, competitive, unleashed child who (as we learn) killed another boy in soccer and realized he needed to damp down on his impulses and keep himself controlled all the time. He is attracted to and repulsed by Dax because she will be uncontrolled. So they are really responding partly to things that they used to have but have repressed because of transformative life experiences. And the political confrontation about the extreme fundamentalist vs. extreme hedonistic worldviews ends up being related to their personal conflict, and the ending should probably have had some sort of suggestion of hinting at some way to unify the opposing views on both stories. So it could have worked, even though I feel still that it largely didn't in practice.

    @ Chrome,

    "I think you’re merging Worf’s point with the extremist’s point, but the episode itself tells us that Worf was never really that interested in what the Fundamentalists were saying, but just using that as a tool to get Jadzia’s attention so she’d take him and his desire to discuss their relationship seriously. This is reinforced by Worf turning on a dime after Fullerton takes things too far leading to Worf knocking out Fullerton and dropping the Fundamentalist view. "

    As I mentioned, I think the episode did a bad job showing how Worf *did* agree with their message to an extent. The way it plays it ends up looking like Worf is 100% wrong (and Jadzia 100% right), which therefore means his support of Fullerton was BS. But it shouldn't have been BS, and earlier in the episode it didn't seem at all like his agreement with them was BS. And frankly their argument simply *isn't* BS in the first place, whether or not their actions were justified. So better writing would have made it clear that they had a valid point to make even though resorting to scare tactics is the wrong way to go, much like how Admiral Leyton was wrong in Paradise Lost even though he was right that the President wasn't prepared to take necessary steps against the Dominion.

    @ William B,

    That's close to what I was trying to say, I think. The idea should have been that each was resisting the relationship in different ways and they needed to see more of each other's needs rather than just ride on their own hang-ups. Worf's side of the argument especially needed bolstering because of the setting. It's totally crazy to give a balance view of their disagreement while in a place dedicated to licentiousness and basically cheating on your partner. If I was in such a place with a significant other and she wandered off with a previous lover I would flip out, no question about it. There is simply no answer to that in "her side" of the argument, and so to me Worf's concern about her seriousness isn't merely 'a point' but is of critical importance. How could she be so inconsiderate about her partner to do such a thing unless she literally doesn't care? At least that's how it looks from the outside, so to me she has a lot of explaining to do to justify that. Maybe something about having lived 7 lifetimes and Worf just doesn't understand how much stability that gives her compared to confused people who *look* her age. There could be something to that - that she warrants more trust than others would in her position, but the episode never makes that case. If anything the series in general seems to be saying that she's actually *more* impulsive than normal, in which case he should be doubly worried. To me the episode's major failing, if I had to name one, would be that this is never justified and Jadzia comes off to me looking like she's stringing Worf along and he'd better just deal with it because she's going to do whatever she likes anyhow. This comes back with a vengeance in "Your are Cordially Invited" when it's made clear that she's acting out on all sorts of entitlement in general. But in this episode that's left out completely.

    @Peter G.

    “So better writing would have made it clear that they had a valid point to make even though resorting to scare tactics is the wrong way to go, much like how Admiral Leyton was wrong in Paradise Lost even though he was right that the President wasn't prepared to take necessary steps against the Dominion.”

    I can see why you’d say this and indeed the same thought crossed my mind, however I came to the conclusion that it’s precisely because the scenario you’re describing was already handled so well in “Paradise Lost” that there’s no need to retread it again in this episode. Indeed, this is a post-Paradise Lost episode, so if anything, Worf should’ve taken a cue from Sisko that it’s not worth destroying paradise to protect it. Which is why I think Worf could’ve been given a different angle of zealously curtaling the Fundamentalists which would give him a chance to exercise his love of authority without him betraying the Federation in the process.

    @William B

    Yes, you bashed this one pretty hard before but I don’t think it’s totally undeserved. I decided to watch this again on a whim last night and I couldn’t get over your observation of how funny it was that Fullerton just showed up at Worf’s quarters without Worf showing any prior interest. The dude must’ve really done his homework on Worf, because it comes across as if he’d been watching the first fifteen minutes of this episode and knew Worf was primed to receive his message.

    I'm surprised to see people are still commenting on this episode! I finally finished it - out of curiosity more than anything. What a lousy, lousy script. I really don't think that Worf is stupid enough to fall for all the puritanical preaching and (should have) sacrifice his career. But they go to great lengths to make him one dimensional (and, I suppose apathetic).

    Based on the tasteless gossiping at the beginning of the episode, it sounds like Worf and Dax have been having a pretty wild time in bed. If he's still grumpy after all that, Dax should realize that there's just no hope for him. (And she should buy more than one swimsuit, yech.) Probably the most boring couple since Data and his girlfriend.

    @ Mallory,

    "it sounds like Worf and Dax have been having a pretty wild time in bed. If he's still grumpy after all that, Dax should realize that there's just no hope for him"

    Since it's a given that there's no lack of enjoyment for them in the relationship maybe it should be taken as a given that his problem has nothing to do with his ability to 'have fun'...

    @Peter, although, it's worth noting that Vanessa Williams wasn't Jadzia's ex, but Curzon's, and it's sort of unclear what the standard is there -- though it's probably unclear for Worf as well. In a way, if we take the reassociation taboo to apply to sex as well as romance, then she should be the person Jadzia is least likely to cheat with, (except that we also know Jadzia would break that taboo).

    @Chrome, it's wild. Maybe Worf started posting in the anti-Risa threads under a cleverly disguised pseudonym (male_child_of_mogh_(bat'leth symbol)) and Fullerton saw him there.

    No question one of DS9's weakest episodes -- annoyingly stupid, severely flawed premise, poor characterizations and acting, but all that said, DS9 has come up with even more putrid efforts ("Fascination", "Ferengi Love Songs", "Profit and Lace" to name 3). I'd say Jammer's review is overly harsh (but entertaining).

    Have to admit I'm surprised at how much discussion this episode generated...why I'm not sure.

    So I think the intent is to follow up "Looking for Par'mach..." with something of a romantic comedy (which historically Trek struggles mightily to pull off) but also throw in a moral question from the Essentialists as a plot so that it's not just Worf and Jadzia at each others throats for an hour + some filler stupidity from Quark/Leeta/Bashir.

    As for Worf's soccer (or football as I prefer) story (as a footballer myself) -- I liked this little anecdote and how it was told, but if this is the reason why Worf is so restrained (read: a hardass the whole episode) -- isn't it hypocritical/duplicitous that he will still make love to Dax Klingon-style causing her to get bruised, injured etc.? Basically, Worf siding with these Essentialists as a way to somehow send a message to Jadzia really makes no sense. Worf was totally off in this episode. The Worf/Jadzia dynamic was tedious to get through -- each having their criticisms of each other felt forced.

    As for Risa itself, the world makes zero sense. The whole idea of those statues to attract a lover, that the natives don't have the courage to prosecute, etc.

    Getting Leeta and Quark involved only added to the stupidity. And here we learn Leeta's interested in Rom... Did not need to see Bashir's skinny body in some kind of tight swimming outfit. And Vanessa Williams' character killed Curzon with sex?? Was that really needed as a detail?

    As for the Essentialists -- I think there's a valid analogy to be made with between this group and puritanical thought in our world, but also restoring the principles and morals of the Federation (from their own perspective). Where Fullerton's argument falters big time is in comparing Federation citizens dislike of bad weather to a Dominion attack. Also, Risa is a paradise planet -- it's hardly representative of the Federation. Do the Essentialists take their cause to normal Federation worlds? The final scene where Fullerton attacks Worf and then gets his ass kicked was pretty lame.

    1 star for "Let He Who Is Without Sin..." -- managed to turn the Worf/Jadzia romance into something super-annoying in a forgettable episode. Plenty of inane filler material. The Risa planet concept doesn't work for me -- or at least it was poorly fleshed out here and combining that with an extremist group is a poor choice for premise. Character assassination for Worf. Just a bad day at the office for DS9.

    I don't know why people don't like this episode. I found it a very interesting story and a good development of the Dax and Worf relationship, with a key revelation of why Worf is the way he is.

    "Let He Who is Without Sin" is a spectacular misfire in every way. Jammer is correct-this is one of those episodes that makes you hope that no one else can see what you're watching. The big revelation about Worf kind of works, but it would have worked better were it shackled to an episode that wasn't awful.

    0.5 stars.

    Hello Everyone!

    I'm making my way through the RSS (so, so far behind) and saw quite a few deep, in-depth comments about it and why Worf might act the way he did.

    I looked back at my comment from April 2017 (good review I think, check it out) and this line stood out:

    I didn't like how Worf was written as devious, making it rain just to get back at Dax, with the excuse that it was for the good of the people. Hogwash.

    Remembering back to when I first saw it, and again when I re-watched it, I thought Worf's motivation was less to teach a lesson to soft Feds, and more to teach a lesson to Dax to start being more serious about things (life, love, her past, her future). Those... umm... *scrolls up because they are fogotten*... "essentialists", are just a means to an end, until they go too far. He simply wanted to show her up, and it was one of the least loving things I could think of someone doing to someone they care about. Worf just wanted to make it Glemmening on Jadzia's parade. He succeeded. The rest of the episode is simply filler to help that to happen.

    Have a Great Day Everyone... RT

    Not a great episode, but not an awful episode. The relationship banter was formulaic and boring (like most trek relationships). But what did have potential was the "essentialists". If more emphasis was put on them (symbolic of religions fundamentalist/evangelist) this could have been a great show. Something else that would have helped would have been focus on the weather control system its problems. Can you imagine if we had a weather control system many lawsuits and complaints people would have at the slightest of problems?

    I didnt find this episode all that bad until Worfs insane soccor speech. Holy crap what the heck were they thinking??? Totally unneeded scene anyway. Well thankfully we can just ignore that detail going forward......

    This episode is a real stinker but would have been harmless except for that awful worf speech.

    also... why in the world is kids soccer still a thing in star trek future but not baseball?? What kind of future dystopia is this anyway????!!?

    I actually laughed when Leeta revealed she was leaving Julian for Rom and Quark gave him that idol thingy and said: "you need this more than I do". But I guess that's the only good thing I can say about this episode.

    Is DS9 trying to completely ruin Worf?

    Plusses: Some pretty people

    Minuses: Too much stupid to list.


    "Is DS9 trying to completely ruin Worf?"

    Without getting too spoiler-y, Worf starts getting really good stories later this season. For some reason, the writers wanted to drag Worf through the mud, maybe to destroy the perception that TNG characters are perfect? Though Worf was always flawed on TNG, so I don't think it was totally necessary. There's this conception by the showrunners that TNG only scratched the surface of who Worf was and the soccer story was trying to tell us *the other side of the story*, but I think this shares "Cost of Living"'s issue where you have too much silly fluff to allow the viewer to take the serious material at face value.

    Sorry to report, at this point in time in the prime universe Jammer has been unable to remove all traces of this episode from Trek. Episode so bad the comments eventually degenerated into discussion and critique about various forms of football until for some reason someone brought it kicking and screaming back to the episode. So if on the off chance someone is still interested enough to have gotten to the bottom of the comments page, here is my 2 cents.

    All sports are created equal. But Australian ones are better ;)

    So I will take bullet for this one.
    I kind of liked that episode back then... hear me out.

    What is Jammer's critique
    -The relationship stuff isn't interesting.
    -Fullerton is unconvincing
    -Worf's motivation
    -the resolution of the episode (Worf's change of heart)
    -the rest of the cast looks silly

    My take:
    It is not a good episode. No doubt about that.
    The relationship stuff is not great and Worf's behavior is overdone.
    But I, for example, liked the argument about that juice that make Jadzia's spots itch. Worf thinks that she behaves childish to which she replies: "But I like the taste!" and walks away. I found it cute. Jadzia's knows how to enjoy herself. Being on vacation means acting a little irresponsible every now and then.

    Jammer calls Fullerton's argument nonsensical but to my European ears a lot what American politicians say on the state level and for quite some time now on the federal level sounds far more insane and nonsensical. And the argument that we have become too lazy and that the Chinese ahh I mean the Dominion will eat us alive is an often used argument. Real Americans and that kind of stuff. :)

    Does it make sense that Worf follows him. Kind of. Let's face it Worf often behaves like a single minded idiot, more so on DS9 than on TNG. Plus Klingons are famous for loving it rough. Every time we see Klingons have fun it looks like a nightmare version of Valhalla. Worf in his desperate attempt to be a normal Klingon of course dislikes the very thing that Risa represents: soft and cushy relaxation (and lots of Horgahn sex apparently which leads to a few strange questions, by the way *Cough* state sponsored prostitution *cough*).
    I liked the episode because of Character building. We get an important piece of the puzzle why Worf is such a grump. He grew up in a small colony were he was the ultimate outsider, not respected but feared and then he killed somebody in an accident which made him close himself off completely. An incident he apparently never talked about which also underlines his love for Jadzia. His love for her is so strong that he wants to change for her because he knows that he will lose her eventually when she gets bored. That makes it possible for him to share a deeply traumatizing experience. It was also well acted and because the episode was relatively silly before that it hit me even harder.
    We also get a bit of world building about the Bajorans. Their break ups are celebrations of things past which fits pretty nicely with what know about this society.
    Worf changing teams is too rash, though and Fullerton hitting him makes no sense.
    I give it 2 1/2 stars :D

    You can throw me on the pyre now...

    Is Risa like a prostitution planet or something? I don't get it.

    Dax in a swimsuit was nice. I also think Leeta is smoking hot so I enjoyed her scenes. Other than that, I concur with the consensus: Gawd awful.

    Yes and the Federation is the pimp.
    Risans give pleasure, the Federation provides tech and everything to make that possible and profits by having a more happy population.

    It’s really just another problem with the episode. Here’s a chance to get into Risian culture and explain why people are freely giving away their bodies and why that might be “decadent” from a certain point of view. But it never gets there.

    Not a good episode but the Essentialists are absolutely right and if I were unlucky enough to live in the 24th century (though it's already pretty unlucky being born in the late 20th UK, rather than the 2nd century BC Rome or 17th century France ) I'd certainly join them.

    I honestly find it funny that a hefty chunk of this comment section isn't talking about the episode at all, and instead seems to have turned into a massive debate about sports.

    As for the episode itself... I said back in the comments for 'LFPIATWP' (god, even the acronym's a mouthful; I'll just say 'Par'mach') that I wouldn't be surprised to see friction between Dax's sexual liberation and Worf's relative prudishness. Wasn't expecting it so soon, and... it's been played out in pretty much the clumsiest possible way.

    I feel it miiight merit a little more than the dreaded zero-star rating, but I'm finding it very hard to summon up even half a star's worth of evidence. If there is anything in here worthy of redeeming it above rock bottom, it's most likely scattered and incoherent.

    So here's my scattered and incoherent attempt to mount a defence:

    - Quark gets the best showing, oddly. I got a laugh out of "indoor hoverball? That's just wrong" while watching... and it's only making me more amused by the amount of fierce discussion here on "right" and "wrong" sports...!

    - I appreciate how little drama is made of Leeta and Bashir's breakup. It fits the amount of attention their relationship received, honestly: we only saw about a minute of it, so we get about a minute of attention on its ending, and then it's as if they were never together at all. A ton of drama all of a sudden would be decidedly disproportionate given how much we [didn't] see of these two together. Says a lot that the best I can say about them is "could've been worse".

    - A tiny little glimmer of non-heteronormativity, though it's nothing compared to 'Rejoined', in that this universe is at least marginally gay enough that Worf even *can* suspect Dax of getting a little too friendly with a woman (and that Bashir and Quark can go "eh, I see where he was coming from" afterwards). It's got the "this USED to be heterosexual" caveat again, but eh. I'm *really* scraping the bottom of the barrel here on redeeming factors here, though, because the whole "Worf suspects Dax of cheating on him every two seconds" thing makes me want to bash my head against a wall, and also the "Worf walks in on semi-gay clay shenanigans" scene is just embarrassing in how it plays out.

    - Dax is pretty shitty in packing Worf those shiny golden swimming trunks, and doesn't even spare a thought for the poor people in prosthetics who'd have to sculpt the rest of his rockin' Klingon bod, but Worf's look of disbelief at them is as golden as the trunks themselves. I sent a screenshot to my partner, and got the response "worf in shiny golden undies is only gonna work on me if the context is him being a pro wrestler".

    ... yeah, that's all I've got.

    As for why this episode *doesn't* work, I think most people here probably understand that pretty well already. I just feel the slightly petty need to point out something particularly audacious...

    "WORF: I would not become a terrorist. It would be dishonourable."

    -- Worf Sonofmogh Rozhenko, 2372

    That's in 'For the Cause', when they're talking about the actions that drove the Maquis to... being the Maquis.

    Looks like it would take something far, far greater than that to drive Worf to the point where he goes against his ingrained code of honour and commit acts of terrorism. And as it turns out: Worf's breaking point, the critical mass, the one thing that cuts so deeply to the heart of his character that it will drive him to acts of sabotage on a planetary scale is

    a sort of blandly (un)sexy holiday resort with an artificial weather system, and also him being suspicious of his girlfriend


    Ah, one of the infamous zero-rated episodes.

    It actually feels like a direct sequel to "Looking for par'Mach", as it also explores a number of relationship themes and follows up on the relationship between Dax and Worf.

    It's just a shame that it's all done in such a ham-fisted way.

    I've always been a bit wary of the "free interspecies love" message carried forward from the 1960s by Star Trek, and even though this episode tries to balance this to some degree with the arguments between Dax and Worf, this is more than outweighed by Risa: a planet filled with young and attractive californian actors and actresses happy to sleep with anyone who waves a little wooden statue around.


    Things don't really improve when it comes to this week's relationship plots. The whole thing between Bashir and Leeta is bizarre, especially when it comes to the way in which they resolve things between them - it's the sort of "ritual" which can only really work if you're both attractive and in a place where there's lots of hedonistic people out for a good time with random strangers. Which doesn't describe Bajor at all, but does pretty much sum up Risa.


    (There's also the odd bit where we discover that Dax's previous host Curzon died on the planet during a jamaharon, and it's strongly suggested that this was some form of euthanasia...)

    Then there's the prime plot: the relationship between Dax and Worf. And sadly, they just bicker like sulky teenagers, with Worf demanding complete control and Dax demanding total freedom. The way in which they spark off each other makes it genuinely hard to believe they could have anything other than a physical and short-lived BDSM relationship.

    And indeed, this leads to the worst element of this story, where Worf decides to listen to the rantings of someone who's essentially a fundamentalist preacher promising hellfire and brimstone if his demands aren't met.

    (I'm guessing this was meant to be a reflection of the only domestic terrorism encountered by America at the time, in the shape of the Unabomber and his demands for people to return to a more "natural" way of life. It's interesting to reflect on this some twenty-odd years later, when terrorism has had a much bigger impact on western society...)

    Or to put it another way, just one step removed from a terrorist. And naturally, this preacher takes the next logical step and stages a faked attack on the citizens of Risa, which he somehow manages to avoid any form of punishment for; he's not even put under surveillance or deported from the planet. Because this is the pleasure planet Risa, and they accept everything and everyone.

    (And again, it's interesting to compare this to real-world pleasure resorts such as Ibiza, Hawaii, Prague, Los Vegas and even deepest, darkest Blackpool. Drugs, alcohol, hen nights, stag dos; where there's pleasure and partying, there's also a range of negative elements, from arguments which go bad (as per Dax and Worf) to organised crime and beyond. So there's always a need for some form of policing at such places!)

    Naturally, this preacher's "tough love" approach strikes a chord with Worf. And just as naturally, following an argument with Dax, Worf decides to teach her (and by proxy, the Federation) a lesson, by giving the preacher a tool to deactivate the entire planet's weather-control system.

    Wait, what?

    The idea that Worf would buy into a deliberate act of terrorism like this is pretty ridiculous. The idea that this wouldn't cause any deaths or significant suffering is also ridiculous. And the idea that Worf wouldn't then be drummed out of Starfleet when his actions were reported?

    Hoo boy.

    To be honest, the entire show and the premise thereof is a complete wash out. But perhaps the biggest issue I have with this episode is the whole hellfire-and-brimstone rant about how soft the Federation is.

    Because in some ways, that's the biggest slap in the face yet for Star Trek's original message.

    Star Trek was born out of the optimism of the sixties, when America was still basking in an economic boom following World War II, when their "liberal capitalism" had handily triumphed against Nazi Germany. And this even carried through to the 90s when TNG was launched: it may have taken several decades of the Cold War, but America's "liberal capitalism" had eventually emerged victorious over the centrally-organised dictatorship of the USSR.

    And this is one of fundamental tenets of Star Trek: a liberal society is generally able to compete favorably with a non-liberal society. Partly because a liberal society is more flexible (e.g. the UK and USA brought women into the workplace during WW1 and WW2, whereas Germany failed to do so), and because "free" workers are generally more productive than forced workers, both because they're happier and because they have more to lose.

    (and yes, it's a gross generalisation. But hey, that's what Star Trek is all about...)

    In fact, this is something DS9 highlighted just a few episodes ago, when Jake and Bashir got caught up in the war against the Klingons in "Nor the Battle to the Strong": both the soldiers and the medical staff in this episode showcase this tenet perfectly.

    Sadly, in this episode, the local population reacts exactly as the preacher-terrorist predicts.

    And for me, that's really what makes this episode one of the worst in DS9. At least, so far...

    This really is a poor episode. Being that it was bookended by two far superior episodes, it makes this episode quite irrational in its story and creation.

    Teaser : *.5, 5%

    We begin with Morn wordlessly delivering a flower to a Red Shirt, thus establishing this week's theme: vacuous, non-contextualised romance. After a brief discussion of the O'Briens' plan to increase their brood of Irish pub-crawlers (at least they went with “Sean” instead of “Kevin”), Odo and Sisko are joined by Dax, who's complaining about a pulled muscle. No sense burying the lede here, but it seems she and Worf keep fucking each other into the infirmary.

    DAX: Interspecies romance isn't without it's danger. That's part of the fun. Maybe we'll have better luck on Risa.

    There will be no kink-shaming in this review, but I want to be absolutely clear about what the episode is saying: Dax and Worf are really into fucking each other. And divorced from any context, this is completely fine. We know from early TNG (“Hide and Q,” “The Dauphin”) that Klingons get pretty violent with their sex. This is a little cheap from a writing perspective, but whatever, it's part of the species bible now. The thing is, we also know from TNG (“The Emissary,” “Birthright,” “Parallels”) that Klingons such as Worf—whose traditionalism is a key aspect of his characterisation on DS9—do not take sex lightly. It was Worf who insisted that he and K'Ehleyr marry after their first coupling. Now, it's not clear how far his relationship with Troi went—that always struck me as a (near) complete waste of time, something late TNG struggled with anyway, but we were never given the impression that those two ever got past first base. Their interrupted kiss in “All Good Things...” portended the beginning of something beyond exploratory dating, but we saw in “Generations” that this was totally dropped so that Deanna could crash the Enterprise and get her kicks in that way. Oh God I'm rambling...look, a lot of digital ink has been spilled about this episode and I don't want to be redundant. I will touch on the aspects that others have so fully commented on already, but will try and keep my own observations fresh.

    Context matters. On TNG, we were given the (IMO very healthy) impression that the crew was sexually liberated. Troi and Riker had a past and maintained a deep connection and affection for each other, but were fucking random aliens every other week (one reason I found “The Outcast” unconvincing). Crusher had a number of steamy romances with aliens or...ghosts or whatever, with zero judgement cast upon her for being a single mother, which is pretty progressive for the 80s. Geordi was always trying to hook up and was even successful once he realised his true passion wasn't for women, but for the Enterprise computer. Picard had his fuck-buddy Vash, Yar screwed the robot—even Wesley was shown to have hooked up with TWO different girls over his run on the series. Worf was the one who seemed to struggle with *relationships*. And this was always tied to his non-Federation cultural identity. And this worked for the character. Worf's attempt to maintain a Klingon identity amidst his Federation habitat always made him more conservative than his peers. So, the context for his *relationship* with Dax is that her Curzon bits give her an insight into Klingon culture that help him bridge the identity gap. That's as much as we can infer from “Par'mach,” anyway. And now we know that they really like fucking which, for sexual couples, is an important thing. Good for them.

    Now Dax has been steadily improving over the seasons. We went from her very weird and borderline cruel cock-teasing of Bashir in the early days through the very rough patch called “Meridian” to finally ground her sexual interests in the excellent “Rejoined.” I wrote in that review that “Curzon would not have re-associated, despite his disposition to give societal norms the middle finger, because in the end, he values the integrity of symbiont lineage. Jadzia values this, too, but not so much as her own right to self-determination. For better or worse, what Jadzia values is *freedom*. Dax is afforded a story where SHE has the agency, she calls the shots and is willing to pay dearly for the consequences.” My point is that the context for this episode, which is going to attempt to justify their relationship, has a lot of work to do. Worf has a very clear and defined conservative sexual/romantic history. And Jadzia has finally established herself on sexual/romantic terms as being a Trill who refuses to be defined by her past hosts. That these two would be attracted to each other is not in question, but the notion that they would make a good couple is frankly preposterous. This story needs to explain to us how each of them has changed or is willing to change to be the best partner for the other OR one of the two needs to undergo a radical change to be a better fit for the other. That's a tall order.

    Anyway, on to the second minute of the episode. Oh boy. So it turns out Worf and Dax were supposed to vacation on Earth—I assume so that she could meet his parents—but she “changed his mind” and now they're going to Risa instead. I haven't thought about “Captain's Holiday” since the abysmal “Q-Less,” but I didn't really talk about Risa itself. Risa is a paradise planet that is supposed to make Roman Bacchanals look like The Great British Baking Show. A fun place to visit? Sure! I mean I'm sure it's not for everybody, but sexy vacations are great. Do I want to watch people go on sexy vacation? What made the setting work in CH is that the protagonists, Picard and Vash, had no use for Risa. Picard went there under protest and Vash was just trying to evade capture. They were in conflict with their setting. The paradisical elements were framed as a foil to the adventure. It's not a great episode or anything, but this framing makes the setting work in the story. File that one away.

    At the moment, I'm a little perturbed by Dax' smug tone when explaining to Sisko and Odo that she “changed his mind.” The implication is that she did some dirty trick in bed (resulting in bodily harm no doubt) that she exchanged for getting her pick of their destination. For a married couple, like maybe the O'Briens, this kind of exchange can work. Their relationship has an established depth, so sit-commy crap like this doesn't detract from the characters. For Dax and Worf—who have only just started hooking up and have no established depth—this looks very unhealthy. But oh boy it's about to get worse. Worf gets his prune juice and joins them.

    WORF: I am looking forward to spending some time alone with Lieutenant Commander Dax.
    DAX: Isn't he sweet?
    WORF: We have much to discuss.

    Well yes. Given what we know of Worf, he's obviously going to try and get Dax to settle down with him. Unless something has changed which...we kind of need to know about. Ah, but no. This is about Worf being unhappy that Dax is lunching with Krang from TMNT (remember him from that Sex and the City bit in “Blood Oath”?). It turns out Worf “doesn't trust” Krang around his ex-lover. This is supposed to be cute, but what is he actually saying here? He thinks Krang is a rapist or that Jadzia can't or won't control herself? Oh but it gets better. See, when Sisko asks about what's bothering Worf, he says it's private and then Jadzia just tells him about it anyway, making sure not to leave out the fact that she thinks Worf is being stupid. Now, he IS being stupid, but she can't respect his obvious desire for privacy around this matter from his captain. Well, she thinks he's being controlling and he thinks she's being flippant. Yes. You both suck.

    Moving on to...the third minute of the episode...Bashir and Jessica Rabbit pop over to ask if they can carpool to Risa. These two have been together since “Explorers,” and it has mattered exactly never until now. Whatever. Worf, controlling asshole that he is, immediately gives his consent. But it's not over yet. Quark has decided that he's tagging along, too.

    QUARK: I've always wanted to go to Risa and this seemed like a perfect opportunity.
    LEETA: He wouldn't give me any time off unless we promised to take him with us.

    Charming. I see the events of “Bar Association” were totally pointless.

    Act 1 : 0 stars, 17%

    On the Runabout, the cast is in a heated competition to see who can be the most annoying by portraying the most cartoon versions of themselves this side of “Move Along Home.” I mean seriously. Why is comedy so often elusive to the Trek writers? Quark is being a selfish ass. Worf is being a hardass. Jadzia is is being a cheerleader. Bashir is being smug. And Jessica Rabbit left her brain on the Dabbo wheel.

    QUARK: What's he going to do? Turn around and take me home? Ruin everyone's vacation?

    I tip my hat to you, Ira, you clever shrew. Sigh. Anyway, Quark has Horgons to hand out after which JR and Bashir start playing with them like they're Barbie dolls. And by “playing with,” I mean the way 7-year-olds make their dolls hump each other in an attempt to understand what they witnessed on Daddy's laptop that one time.

    So everyone except Worf changes into some truly horrifying beach outfits and they beam down to their Sandals vacation. Jessica Rabbit and Bashir scamper off to bone and Quark flashes his horgons around and gets to Risan women to sleep with him immediately. Whelp, I guess Elliott has to clamber back onto his soap box. What exactly is being implied here? Are these prostitutes? Well, no, Quark isn't paying them for sex. It sort of seems like Jamaharon is a sacred part of Risan culture. But the way Quark uses the horgons sure as hell is framed as transactional. This is punctuated by the further implication that these Risan women are beautiful while Quark looks like Danny Devito dropped in a deep fryer. To be absolutely clear: 1. sex work is not immoral, nor should it be taboo; 2. a sex-positive culture is not inherently bad from a fiction standpoint (or real life, of course); 3. sex-positivity should not be reserved for the people Hollywood deems beautiful. Now, these are distinct issues that need to be treated with a modicum of maturity and delicacy not to feel completely gratuitous and offensive. My problem is that the way Risa is depicted here conflates these different perspectives, not quite sure whether Quark getting it on with these two swimsuit models is a sign of enlightenment or lechery. Why do the women both have to be hot from a conventional human perspective? I'm not even going to get into the casual trope about only women being allowed to have fluid sexuality on TV. There will be plenty of time for that when miss america lady arrives. The culprit here is the attempt at humour. Quark is gross, ergo him having fulfilling sex is funny. Except we have seen Quark depicted with a lot more depth in the sex department already. Sure, he's a bit of a creep with his Dabbo girls, but that's more to do with his aggressive capitalism fetish and general Ferengi misogyny than anything else. But that Casablanca Cardassian woman? Grilka? Both of these relationships were depicted as sincere and complicated. Why is the mere notion that Quark gets to have sex with pretty girls funny, Ira? Bob?

    But that gets back to a comment that I made on here like five years ago—one that I hope to flesh out as this review goes on. The motivation for this offensiveness is (failed) humour, something that is rather specific to this story. The *method* for this madness is a philosophical laziness that I have pointed out shows up most frequently and egregiously in how DS9 tackles the topic of religion. The writers tend to CONFLATE distinct and irreconcilable issues, twist them around and then package their shlock as mature, post-Trekkian commentary. I will elaborate as we get into it. I'm sorry this thing is going to end up so long.

    Jesus H Prophets this episode can't go 30 seconds without saying something stupid.

    WORF: It's an artificially created paradise, maintained by the most elaborate weather control system in the Federation. In it's natural state, Risa is nothing more than a rain soaked, geologically unstable jungle.
    DAX: Maybe so, but the only dark cloud I see around here is you.
    WORF: I did not come here to admire the scenery.

    Okay, first WHY did Worf come here exactly? Vacation, right? So maybe he's the asshole. Oh wait, no he wanted to talk about his and Dax' relationship, that's why they're here. So she's the asshole. No, wait, she's taken off her sarong, revealing the bottom half of her one-piece swimsuit, at which point, Worf bangs his fists on the table and hollers while giant hearts emerge from his eyeballs and he drools out the side of his mouth. Yeah. Star Trek. Oh wait, Worf compares Jadzia's beauty to a gaseous anomaly he stumbled across recently. Romance!

    Did I say stupid? Ah, well this particular square metre of their Sandals spot just so happens to be the place where Miss America is hanging out. Miss America is an ex-lover of Curzon's from when he and Sisko would snort coke, share women and punch dinosaurs on shore leave. Before Jake was born and ruined everything. Speaking of ruining everything, this is from “Blood Oath”:

    KANG: Tell me about my friend Curzon. Did he die an honourable death?
    DAX: He died in a hospital room yelling at doctors and friends who were trying to keep him alive for one more miserable day.
    KANG: That's a pity. He was a good man. He deserved to die in battle.

    ...and from this episode:

    ARANDIS: We had a wonderful time together, until I killed him.
    WORF: Killed him?
    ARANDIS: Death by Jamaharon. I suppose there are worse ways to go.
    DAX: Trust me, he died happy.

    Now this isn't a retcon, necessarily. We can just assume that Miss America fucked Curzon on Risa until he had a heart attack, called for medical help which ferried him all the way back to Trill—presumably he was still in orgasmic bliss or whatever despite his heart giving out for...many hours or days even. The Trill doctors tried to keep him alive (he's both miserable and happy this whole time). They drag in initiate Jadzia, whose first joined memory ends up being wrist-deep in Miss America or whatever the Jamaharon they were doing. Truly an honourable story.

    Leaving that bullshit aside, the only plausible way Miss America could have been around here, besides laughable coincidence, is a) Jadzia intentionally chose a place she expected the last person she fucked as Curzon to be, despite knowing Worf wouldn't like it or b) she actually contacted Miss America ahead of time and arranged to see her on her vacation with her new boyfriend. Such wisdom from our resident Trill genius. Oh and not to beat a dead horse, but once again, Vanessa Williams was 33 when this episode aired, meaning a 20-something Risan beauty queen and a long-retired Trill diplomat who looks like Auberjonois with hair plugs were merrily fucking a few years ago. See that commentary above about Quark and his threesome. Sex-positivity only flows in one extremely sexist direction on Risa.

    God, what else? Miss America compliments Dax on her new body because, of course, and offers to show them around, but Worf—very politely—declines the offer. Jadzia gets pissy with him for “trying to control her life.” Uh-huh. Look, monogamy is kind of stupid, but Worf has never been coy about his feelings on the matter. Jadzia seems to be intentionally goading Worf into being jealous, like a fucking teenaged brat. She's HUNDREDS of years old. She has been married several times, raised children—as more than one gender. When she was fucking with Odo's stuff back in “Broken Link,” I could ignore this juvenile behaviour as silly background noise, but it seems the writers are committed to turning Dax into Quinn Morgendorffer. Yikes.

    Jadzia all but commands Worf to put on his gold speedo that she brought for him to wear (he's SO controlling, you see, that she gets to dictate his every movement, attitude and wardrobe choice while he's on vacation). Before we see whether Rick Berman made Michael Dorn lay off the doughnuts the way you know he made Ferrel, a decidedly conservatively-dressed man enters Worf's cabin.

    FULLERTON: I'm the Chairman of the New Essentialists Movement...We're dedicated to restoring the moral and cultural traditions of the Federation. This is a statement of our principles. But if you'd like to hear more, we're holding a rally later this afternoon...This world revels in the kind of self-indulgence that's eroding the foundations of Federation society. We intend to shut it down.

    Boy, Risa must actually be a single beach town surrounded by fire caves, or the size of Tiny Planet from “Rick and Morty.” I'm going to hold off on dissecting Pascal Strawman here. So far, I have had to pause this episode so often that this is my third day trying to get through it and I'm not through the first fucking act. I need to pace myself.

    Act 2 : 0 stars, 17%

    We pick up with Jessica Rabbit getting a massage from a Risan man. The man is attractive which, yeah that's the theme. But this limp-dicked attempt at equality is undermined by the fact that this man (the objectified eye candy) is dressed in a mesh tanktop, while our POV character, the most sexualised of all the DS9 extended cast, is revealing TV sideboob in the same shot. It's as if the producers are actively saying, “we know the only people who watch Star Trek are lonely, horny, heterosexual nerds! We just put this dude in here to keep the SJWs happy! Here, look at these boobs and please continue to give us money!”

    Sigh, so Jadzia and Worf walk in on her massage/foreplay, with the latter trailing off on a comment she was making regarding Pascal Strawman's take on Federation societal decay. I caught the words “...the Federation since the day it was founded...” which hints at a potentially interesting conversation. Such discussions are not for the likes of this story, however, as we must instead focus upon Worf being scandalised. Just fucking kill me already. This feeling seems to tip Worf over the edge of dedication to his self-inflicted misery as he grumpily informs Dax that he's going to be spending his time observing the New Essentialists' rally this afternoon. Goodie.

    Dax, to her credit, attends the rally with her boyfriend where they see that Bashir is also hooking up with some woman. Miss America is here too, of course, proclaiming that Strawman and his cohort are “very entertaining.” I'm skeptical, but I'll take anything resembling entertainment at this point. They arrive on the scene, framed deliberately like Revivalist preachers entering the den of sin. Let's get on with this:

    FULLERTON: You know what I see when I look at you? Children. Pampered, spoiled children. For some reason the citizens of the Federation have come to believe that they are entitled to lives of ease and privilege...If you want something to eat, you get it from a replicator. If you want amusement, you go to a holosuite. And if you need protection, you call for Starfleet. But someday, someday soon, you're going to have to learn to take care of yourselves. Because if I see you as helpless children, then how do you think the Borg see you? Or the Romulans, or the Klingons or the Dominion? These empires look at the Federation and they see a prize, a prize that we have forgotten how to protect. And if we don't change our ways, they're going to take it from us.

    Most of the fine people on this site—and in the fan community at large, I gather—agree that Strawman's premise here is, well, ludicrous. Laughable. To be dismissed. But why? There's nothing objectively false in what he says;

    1.The lives of Federation citizens are relatively privileged and easy.
    2.Food and entertainment alike are readily available to all.
    3.The Federation is definitely a target for Romulans, Borg, etc.

    People object to his argument because Strawman is making his points about material privilege and military preparedness in a place specifically designed for leisure, which seems silly. And it is. The context of this episode makes it obvious to most that his arguments are specious. But I remember a distinct lack of skepticism towards, say, Eddington when he compared the Federation to the Borg in “For the Cause,” or to Odo's whataboutism in “Destiny,” or Sisko impugning Paradise in “The Maquis,” or Kira smugly claiming that a lack of belief is actually belief in “In the Hands of the Prophets.” Those were also specious arguments that are silly when you consider the contexts in which they were made. There's a particularly glaring irony when you think about the Maquis issue, predicated on the notion of material scarcity, and what Strawman is saying here about how ALL Federation members are basically spoilt children because of an unlimited availability of resources. He is concern-trolling over Risa specifically because of the amenities afforded by the Federation being a post-scarcity society. YOU CAN'T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS, DEEP SPACE NINE.

    But once again, DS9 is going to decline to actual make the counterargument within the episode's text, leaving us with the impression that this guy kind of has a point.

    FULLERTON: The way I see it, we've got two options. We can either turn our backs on childish things and re-embrace the hard work that built the Federation in the first place, or we can lie here napping in the sun, until we wake up with Jem'Hadar guns to our heads. The choice is ours. Heaven help us if we make the wrong one.

    Do you think someone in this story—maybe one of our main characters, even—is going to at some point ask Strawman, “Hey Preacher Man, what exactly is the Federation? What aspects of our cultural heritage have we lost exactly that would defend us against Dominion guns to the head?” No, of course not. Because whenever DS9 makes philosophical arguments (I'm exaggerating—this isn't *always* true, just way too often), it conflates disparate issues, arriving at its dubious conclusions via the most manipulative sort of sophistry, as we see in the next scene.

    BASHIR: None of this has anything to do with Risa.
    WORF: You cannot be certain of that.
    DAX: All I know is I've spent lifetimes defending the Federation, and I deserve a vacation every now and then.

    Bashir is completely right. None of this has to do with Risa—but THAT WASN'T STRAWMAN'S CLAIM. Hence why I have named him as such. The logical fallacy is compounded by Dax' claim to military patriotism. DS9's two super-genius blue shirts are acting like tobacco-spitting rednecks. Fuck me. Either engage with the argument or don't bring it up, episode.

    Jessica Rabbit enters the scene to thank Julian for bringing them here. Because we have to tie this into the Worf-is-sexually-repressed motif. See, JR and Bashir are here *in order* to break up, which they are doing in accordance with an old (and doubtless sacred) Bajoran custom called the Rite of Separation. You see, Bajorans are creationist, literalist, cast-abiding zealots who also believe in orgiastic excess specifically at the point a relationship ends. Because they are a deeply spiritual people. I hope one day to hear the harrowing stories from a grizzled Vedek survivor of the Occupation talk about how, even in the darkest of hours, under the oppressive tyranny of their Cardassian overlords, the people kept the faith. The breakup sex never ceased.

    Anyway, the writers contrive a “tense” act break by having the New Essentialists raid the, erm, sex tent/Lebanese buffet they're lounging in. The Bolian minister holds Dax and Worf and gunpoint while the extras tear gauze from the ceiling. Wow. Star Trek!

    Act 3 : .5 stars, 17%

    I am particularly amused that the opening shot here is a Horgon being dramatically tipped to the floor (ooh, but don't break the tables there, guys, we rented those). Anyway, Strawman makes his entrance and we learn that the guns aren't charged, meaning they “won't harm anyone.” Take it away, Scarecrow

    FULLERTON: You think you're safe here in this paradise of yours, but you're not. What if we had been Jem'Hadar or Klingons or Romulans. You'd be dead now. Even you Starfleet officers were lulled into a false sense of security. If you could be taken unaware, what chance do the rest of us have? The sad truth is the galaxy is a hostile place. Forget that, even for a moment, and you risk losing everything.

    Exactly. That is why you must all stop using replicators immediately. You're all too fat and lazy like...exactly none of the women apparently allowed on this planet. He gets Worf to tacitly approve of his behaviour, leading us, like dogs tied to a sled caught in an avalanche of shit, to the next scene.

    WORF: We need to talk...about us.
    DAX: Oh, I suppose you have another list of things I'm doing wrong.

    A LIST? At all, let alone after dating for a few weeks at most? Yes I know Worf would rather be married, but that would still be horrendous. Dax is being a complete ditz and selfish asshole this episode, but she needs to leave him yesterday.

    The next day, Dax visits Miss America in the sex tent, to witness the clean up job (putting that gauze right back up and, um, picking the table off the floor. Phew! Take a break, guys).

    DAX: I've never known a Klingon who had a tougher time enjoying himself.
    ARANDIS: That's no reason for you not to have a good time. Risa is famous for its diversions.


    So, maybe SHE's the villian? Wait...wait...I get it now. The title is Biblical, the Essentialists dress like ministers, Risa is the Garden of Eden...that means Dax is Eve, Arandis is the snake and Leeta is the rock Adam stumbled over on his way to the Tree of Knowledge. DS9 does like to refer to the Federation as “Paradise,” after all. And we all know from “Man of Steel” that Christian allegories automatically make stories great. Four stars.

    Sigh...this episode is an absolute chore to get through. Jessica Rabbit and Bashir conclude their sacred bullshit by reciting some trite lines and breaking a cup on the ground. This scene is unintentionally hilarious, a fact brought into sharp relief by the Very Serious score complete with synthesised choral Aaaahs. The Bajoran faith is truly a wonder. Quark was on hand, sporting his a horgon, to observe the ritual and attempt to be intentionally hilarious. And failing.

    QUARK: Let me get this straight. While you were still dating Julian here, you were having fantasies about someone else?
    LEETA: It's...your brother, Rom.

    Yes of course. This is Star Trek in the 90s. Hot women exist for ugly nerds. This pisses me off on a lot of levels, but it is incredible to me that the episode would imply that Bajorans only practise polyamory during the very act of ending a relationship, then pat themselves on the back for being progressive with their sex message.

    Speaking of vague infidelity, we pick up with Worf walking in on Miss America and his Par'machai doing their whole “Ghost” thing. If “Rejoined” was the heartfelt and carefully crafted tale of the unnecessary tragedy which accompanies many a queer romance, this is the low-resolution porn remake. Jesus. So Worf has seen enough, storms out of the sex tent and back to his cabin, where he proceeds to smash his horgon to bits. Heh. This thing just keeps getting funnier. He then drops in on Strawman and his posse to inform then he knows how to get people to leave Risa, which is apparently the thing they all wanted to do in the first place.

    Act 4 : .5 stars, 17%

    While Dax tries to justify her “deep” attraction for Worf to Bashir and Quark, Worf's gloomy dark clouds are made manifest. Literally. It starts raining. How did this not win an Emmy? Miss America suspects something to be wrong with the weather grid, and sure enough Strawman and his posse, including Worf, emerge and take credit for the mess. The DS9 gang are incensed.

    DAX: Worf, this is wrong.
    WORF: I disagree. If Federation citizens cannot handle a little bad weather, how will they handle a Dominion invasion?

    I don't need to go off here. Like I said, others have been quite thorough in tearing this apart already. What I will say again is that the way this is written, in addition to just being awful to sit through, is cowardly. Worf is quite obviously sublimating his emotional distress over his relationship into this activism, so we can't take his remarks about the reasoning behind it at face value. The character piece is its own issue, but since Worf's arguments are bunk *by design*, how are we supposed to engage with the questions? Are Federation citizens too soft or horny or whatever? The episode is content to imply this without backing it up and leave it there to fester in the viewer's mind. This is the insidiousness I have spoken of before. For me, that's what takes an already bad episode and makes it irredeemable.

    Act 5 : 0 stars, 17%

    Strawman is planning on “sending a message” using Worf's tech uplink to the weather grid while Jadzia confronts Worf over his antics.

    DAX: You think I'm irresponsible, frivolous. That I care more about pleasure than I do commitment.

    I mean...yeah. What have you done so far to demonstrate your commitment to Worf besides begrudgingly attend a rally with him? Lest you think I'm taking Worf's side here, please know that these two are hopelessly toxic for each other. She knew that he wanted to spend their vacation discussing their future and he knew that she wanted to relax and have a good time. At no point did either of them consider making space for each other's needs. They just assumed the other would acquiesce and magically be happy with the outcome. While I don't take Worf's side, I do have to point out that the man is incredibly immature compared to a typical man his age to begin with, let alone a Trill with hundreds of years of experience. Worf has constructed his image of what a romantic partner is from the fairy tales of Klingon legends. He superimposes impossible standards onto the women he tries to be with. He's basically a developmentally-challenged teenager in the sex and romance department. Remember that what convinced him to stick around at all was the sight of Jadzia's body, like he's the “American Pie” guy. I don't excuse Worf for this exactly, but this is something that should on some level be pitied—NOT rewarded, but pitied. The problem is that Worf's silliness is precisely what Dax says she finds so attractive in Worf (“the courage of a berserker cat and the heart of a poet...”). For a casual fling that tickles your Klingon kink, this is fine. For an allegedly serious relationship, this is unforgivably stupid and shortsighted. The worst part is that SHE KNOWS THIS.

    WORF: A Klingon woman would not have given me grounds for suspicion.
    DAX: And how would you know? Curzon spent more time with Klingons than you ever did.

    Anyway, this brings us the the Football/Soccer story which is supposed to justify this episode's existence (along with all the boobs). As William B pointed out, TNG already answered the question as to why Worf isn't like other Klingons. Guinan did a thorough breakdown in “Redemption.” But I suppose Jadzia wasn't there for that, so let's go back to, say, “Sons of Mogh,” where Worf explained to her specifically why he felt so isolated that he was willing to cut himself off completely from his Klingon family. Oh that reminds me. WORF HAS A SON. Whatever. The “Sons of Mogh” scene, while leading to a dubious and character-ruining conclusion, had 100 times the depth of this contrived story. The worst part of this is that, once again, the (“if I lose control, someone I care about might get hurt”) is the answer to a question no one asked. DS9 writers just love these strawman arguments, don't they? Worf wasn't unhappy in his relationship with Dax because he was afraid of hurting her. He keeps sending her to the fucking infirmary with sex injuries! If he's actually holding back, then why go even that far? Worf is unhappy because he doesn't see Jadzia taking their relationship seriously. He wants her to be his mate, not just his plaything. But this conversation has nothing to do with that, yet we are expected to accept this a resolution to the problem. Compared to things like Bajoran religion, Star Trek ethos, or the morality of terrorism, this is obviously a trivial issue, but the way in which the episode makes its argument is just as dishonest and infuriating.

    Anyway, Strawman has activated his earthquake machine like some sort of super villain, giving Worf an excuse hit him. But not before this line of literary genius.

    WORF: You say that we have to return to traditional Federation values. Well, I agree, but one of those values is trust. It is essential that we remember that.

    😂 😂 😂 😂 😂

    Jesus Tap-Dancing Christ. Anyway, Miss America says goodbye, Worf goes skinny-dipping and the audience is invited to ingest cyanide.

    Episode as Functionary : -1 stars, 10%

    From my EAF writeup of the lowest-rated DS9 episode to date, “Fascination”:

    “Most of this episode is one gigantic DBI. The character interaction, aside from the sci-fi nonsense with Troi, is plausible, but is just so fucking tedious and banal. Save a the innuendo between Miles and Julian and the Quark/Miles scene, none of the jokes land. It's truly remarkable how immature the Trek writers tend to be when it comes to sex, descending to “Three's Company” levels of snickering pablum.

    But this episode couldn't be content with being a failed comedy, no it had to have a serious plot to do serious damage to the O'Briens. Since neither Keiko or Miles were affected by Lwaxana's telepathic black fly, their mutually erratic behaviour should spell disaster for their marriage. But hey, she put on the dress, so, you know, gratitude!”

    Amazing, no? It's pretty much the same thing here, except none of the jokes land, the acting is worse, and the central relationship doesn't have a history to justify surviving the events of the story. I'm going to catch shit for saying this, but, much like “The Visitor,” what's really unfortunate here is that implications for the relationship issues are completely ignored. I like “The Visitor” about 800 million times more than this sad excuse for an episode, but I have the same general problem with the character material. Just like Jake and Sisko should have seen a therapist to work out their dependency issues, Dax and Worf should get some counselling, or even better, break the fuck up.

    LHWiWS has the added problem from infuriating stories like “Destiny” and “For the Cause” of making lazy strawman arguments that it isn't willing to fully engage with. Worf says that the Federation will “survive” its sociological shortcomings. He does not refute the notion that Fullerton's accusations of said shortcomings were in any way incorrect. That leaves us with the impression that that guy went too far with his zealotry, but maybe he had a point. That's the DS9 way, far too often. Add to that the sexual immaturity, character inconsistency, and rather blatant misogyny and you've got the worst episode of the series so far, without question. What a disaster.

    Final Score : 0 stars

    Didn't Worf promise us at the end of "The Drumhead" that he would never be duped by someone like this again?

    Many people on the previous review wondered why “Trials and Tribble-ations” only got 3.5 stars. I think Jammer actually gave this one NEGATIVE 0.5 stars and had no choice but to deduct it from one the series most beloved episodes.

    I never followed DS9 after TNG when it was originally airing (I was playing more video games than watching TV at that point in my life), but I can only imagine being a new viewer who maybe was into TOS, and “Trials and Tribble-ations” finally won them over to DS9, and they’re thinking, “man this show is great, I can’t wait to see what’s in store next week!” And then you tune in for this episode and get an open-faced crap sandwich.

    That’s why this deserves 0 stars. Because of the juxtaposition next to one of the greatest highs of the series, you put the lowest of the lows? The only episode as bad is probably “Shades of Grey” because of the insult to injury factor of putting a terrible episode as a season finale.

    I know Trek loves to put characters we love into situations outside of their comfort zone and seeing how they tick. But how the pitch question of “Hey, how would Worf react to being on a pleasure planet?” was answered with “well, naturally he’d join a terrorist cult” is baffling.

    I actually didn’t mind the soccer speech, because there actually was some character depth revealed. The whole seen was watchable (mind you, I didn’t say “good”) because their argument puts out several points that we as the audience thought about these two. When Dax says she knows more about Klingon culture, I was thinking “yeah, why didn’t she go undercover in Apocalypse Rising?” Then when Worf says that doesn’t make her a Klingon, I thought the same thing. And when Dax replies with “well you’re not like any Klingon I’ve ever met” we all know at this point he isn’t. And his soccer story helps flesh out that character trait and explain why he is so different and reserved.

    That little revelation wasn’t enough to save this pile of junk though, and like Jammer, I was embarrassed to watch it. I had my wife watch “Tribble-ations” with me and was so happy she fell asleep before this episode started. I don’t think I’d ever get her to watch another episode with me again.

    Also, side note,!when Dax shows off her bikini to Worf, why would that change his mind about staying? We’ve already established these two are spending a lot of time in the Bone Zone already, how is that a game changer?


    I don't mean to go to bat for this one because it's indeed quite bad as you say, but I disagree that newcomers will be put off by this episode. In the end, its capital crime is character assassination. For those unfamiliar with Worf and Dax, none of that matters. Those characters can be these weird people presented here in a vacuum and it hurts nothing for those unfamiliar with them.

    By the same token, "Shades of Grey" is fairly newbie friendly as the recycled footage would be 100% fresh to a newcomer. It's not like either of these episodes are in lizard baby territory.

    This was far from Trek's best episode, but I don't feel that it deserved 0 stars, that's a rank best reserved for dreck like "Threshold". This episode at least made sense, and the premise of the ever-serious Worf on a pleasure planet had some nice "fish out of water" moments.

    Since I found the Tribbles episode hilarious, I thought I'd check this out and see if it was comedy and maybe not many got the joke.

    It started out with some absurdist humor - funny, in a Monty Python sort of way. And then it just got dumber... and dumber... and dumber. I started fast forwarding about half way through. I can only guess that the script writers were extremely stoned when they wrote this.

    Nothing could save this script. Julian's little outfit was amusing for a minute, but the only potential strength would be if you find Farrel attractive (I really don't).

    Incompatible people trying to force a relationship to work isn't comedy material. Its shit material. Its a dreadful experience, and even in a dark story, it isn't emotionally moving, it's just people being stupid.

    I think they should just delete this one from the catalog when they remaster DS9. Which they really need to do.

    While I didn't hate this one with the passion that others did, it's certainly not great. Adding an episode that dark from Worf's past (oh, yeah, he killed a kid once, and we never mentioned it in eight seasons) is almost as bad as MacGyver's producers just randomly adding that he was a professional race driver once and it never got mentioned in the previous six seasons. But I liked Worf's innovative way of "attacking" Risa.

    Semi humorously, Fullerton's version of fundamentalism kind of fell flat. In a society that apparently doesn't believe in hell, it's just not that scary.

    This much hated episode is actually interesting if you pretend it's a fable from season 3 of TOS.

    And so you have a hyper conservative Worf being invited to a hedonistic, ultra liberal planet. Once there, he essentially meets Space Jordan Peterson. Peterson, who tweaks and repackages centuries worth of conservative memes for young 21st century audiences, is notorious for bashing permissiveness and offering spirited defenses of "tradition". Borrowing from the playbooks of fascist mystics, he associates tradition with strength, hardship, duty and personal mastery, and social degradation with "chaos" ("If you think tough men are dangerous, wait until you see what weak men are capable of!" he says, "Hard times create strong men, strong men create good times!" etc).

    And so Worf, a hyper conservative dude who believes in no sex before marriage, and no space orgies with aliens and their xeno-STDS, is disgusted when Dax takes him on a trip to Risa. Thankfully Worf meets Space Jordan Peterson (or Space William F. Buckley if you're older), who tells him that actually, Worf is right to trust his instincts. Too much talking, and shagging, and tolerance and permissiveness, makes your society soft and weak and invites destruction from the chaotic hordes outside.

    Worf is so stuck up - fittingly, his favorite drink is prune juice, which is a laxative - that he immediately joins Space Jordan Peterson's merry band of terrorists. They sabotage a weather system and so hilariously literally rain on everyone's parade. No more sex for anyone! Pull up your pants and go be grumpy in a corner!

    The episode is ridiculous, but at least it's trying to say something. An early scene features a debate on the name "Sean", which is pleasant in English but rude in Bajoran, a debate which epitomizes the cultural relativism seen later; some folk think shagging on the beach is normal, some folk think it's a civilization-shattering heresy.

    Later Worf gets angry when he realizes Dax has had many past lovers, some of whom were women. This upsets Worf, who chides Dax for not wishing to marry him. Indeed, Worf throughout the episode shows a remarkable distaste for female agency. Women must be repressed and contained, he believes, their desires and internal life denied lest they become wild and chaotic. In one scene he even comes to the conclusion that women, left alone, shall wander and commit illicit affairs with their lesbian lovers and strangely suggestive globs of clay.

    In another symbolic scene Dax says she likes "icoberry juice" even though it "gives her a rash". Worf thus tries to ban her from drinking icoberries. But it doesn't matter if the icoberries have harmful effects, Dax tries explaining to him, what matters is that she has the choice to make this mistake herself. Worf, like a caricature of an evangelical Christian or Islamic fundamentalist, refuses to accept this. Traditional Laws dictate what we should and shouldn't do!

    Then you have the Space Jordan Peterson, who's pretty funny when he's ranting about the need to "restore the moral and cultural traditions of the Federation" and "reverse the trend of softness" infecting Federation culture, a softness which is always tied to racial phobias and a fear of outsiders perverting that same culture. Too bad no body challenges him on any of this. Indeed, the Dominion arc affirms his beliefs.

    So a pretty bad episode, but pretend its a radio play, or a late TOS episode fervently trying to say something, and it's pretty interesting in a wacky way.

    @Trent give it a rest with the trolling so we don't get sucked down a 15 page political argument thread.

    Pretty please?

    Worf here is just an exaggerated version of the dour sourpuss he was throughout DS9. It’s a plausible mood after the destruction of Enterprise D— for which he, as Security Chief, was culpable for— especially considering how much he valued his post there. The best lines to this effect were in his first episode when he and Miles reminisce of their time on the Enterprise, and he spoke of their missions as being like the stories of old.

    Then he gets sent to a remote space station.

    It’s a very plausible characterization, but bleh, most of the time on DS9 I find him unpleasant.

    Certainly one of the better episodes despite the groaning. It's amazing how accurate criticisms of hedonism and excess for the purpose of struggle and meaning can make the typical fat nerds who like Star Trek seething mad. Even Trent, who merely pretends to dislike liberalism, has to go off on Jordan Peterson but also fascism making it clear he has no idea what he's talking about.

    The only problem this episode faces is that, like all of Star Trek, the supply of resources is infinite because "science", which is really just a stand-in for magic. If we can apply these criticisms to the real world, we find that places like Risa are analogous to the wasteful resorts like Las Vegas or Orlando, Florida. These places do untold amounts of damage to the surrounding environment, but that is all swept under the rug. I guess since Risa is in space, we really don't have to worry about what happens here.

    Hilariously entertaining. Clearly a decade-plus of Star Trek thread commenters weren’t the intended audience for this episode, and thank Horga’hn for that.

    Some of y’all are more Worf-like than you realize, but at least he knew how to bust a Kling-nut in a holosuite from time to time *with honor.

    Another episode where Worf's character is made completely unattractive.

    Poor Michael Dorn the actor, back in '96 he must've said (sotto voce) something like:

    "So now I get to be a stick-in-the-mud for 30 minutes, then for the next 8 minutes I wantonly destroy the delicate weather grid of a paradise planet to aid some guys without a sense of humor,... and then for an encore I divulge that I committed manslaughter when I was in middle school and feel bad about it because I lacked self-control and that I'm afraid of what I might do.......2 minutes later I throw the main guy without a sense of humor (who I had just been helping no less) across a room."

    "This is great for my career...How about I quit?"

    I would of given it one star had the character of Worf been written otherwise in TNG.

    I do not recall Worf being so pious in the previous show, had the Worf in this episode served on the Enterprise ,Riker would of been castrated by Bat'leth, Diana would of been seen as ''impur'' and probably he would of never had that one night stand with Klingon woman in season 2.

    I think you’re all nuts. This was a delightful episode in an excellent series. When I look at the “trek” we're being offered 25 years later, it makes me appreciate DS9 even more. Even the worst episodes in the series are light years beyond anything that’s been produced since ENT ended in 2005. “Let He Who is Without Sin” is a wonderful piece of nostalgia. How I miss that world of the mid 90s...

    I think they missed and opportunity by not hooking up Fullerton and Alixus from Paradise as the ultimate "we want to control your lives" power couple.

    I usually find Worf hilarious. The right writing can make his utter seriousness in the face of a silly situation awesome. I still bust out laughing thinking of him saying, "Sir I protest! I am a not a merry man!"

    But here he's just unbearable. He's the embodiment of a certain type of person I find cringey and wearisome in real life.

    The scene where the essentialist character hits a Klingon warrior twice his size made me roll my eyes the first time I saw it, and I cringed anticipating seeing it again on a recent rewatch. It was sooo obviously written that way to give Worf an excuse to get physical with the smaller, older man without being seen as the villain by the audience, realistic characterization be damned.

    About the only laugh I got out of this episode came when I read Trent's comment from a year ago, because 2 minutes of the Fullerton character was enough to mentally label him "Space Jordan Peterson," and now I see I'm not the only one.

    Leaving aside the blinkered allegory, this whole episode leans heavily in the direction of 1980s teen sex romps, with virtually every beat from those old T 'n' A summer movies replayed by various characters, down to the instantly changeable Worf, depending on how much Dax is wearing at the moment. Like, Porky's-level writing, here. I mean, if that's your cup of tea, sip up. If not, just skip this one.

    Worf just completely ruins this. I want to like him because he was such a great character, but now he's been reduced to a Fundamentalist In Space.

    If this were a one off thing for some reason, it could be ok, but Worf is like this all the time on DS9.

    The story could have worked. I don't fully understand the notion here, which is basically "don't use your toilet because some day you may not have one and will have to squat in a field". But there are people who believe along those lines, so it's a certainly a worthwhile story.

    Aside from all that, why in the world would Jadzia have married Worf? From her point of view, he's a 2 year old.

    Why in the world would Worf want to marry Dax?

    She insists they go on vacation where she wants, disregards Worf’s feelings, publicly humiliates him by telling everyone their private business (in front of Worf for good measure), constantly talks about Worf behind his back, gets pissy when Worf won’t do as she commands (getting out of his uniform), gets Worf a swimsuit he CLEARLY wouldn’t want to wear (seriously, she simply HAD to know he wouldn’t like that), again gets pissy when he chooses to do something she doesn’t like (reading the Essentialist pamphlet), spends the entire series gossiping about literally anything but criticizes Worf for gossiping (with her!) about Letta, yet again gets pissy when Worf does something she disapproves of (attending the Essentialists’ rally), and engages in obviously sexualized activities with a former lover when she knows it makes Worf uncomfortable (and why? - because she wants want she wants when she wants it and everybody should agree because it’s what she wants).

    Who is the two-year-old here?

    @Luke. Many good points. I think that each of them is a 2 year-old, if that....

    The episode is a trope about the perfect vacation going seriously awry. Had one of those in Colorado once. Yukk.

    When rewatching DS9 for this episode I just watched three scenes:
    -opening chit chat with Sisko, Odo and Dax
    -Worf's soccer speech to Dax
    -Worf stopping Fullerton and throwing him across the room

    Viewed as a 6 minute little micro-episode, it's decent. Goofy and uneven (and Worf's big revelation is kind of too much) but it's not without some interest or entertainment. I have no desire to revisit any other part of this episode, but I think there's more in the snippets of value than there are in the worst of the Ferengi episodes.

    Star Trek can tackle interesting ethical questions when it comes to war and peace, life and death, and the rights of non-humanoids, but its embrace of pure hedonism unadulterated by duty, honor, or logic is absurd and exists chiefly to fuel fanfictions about Vulcan love slaves.

    And though I maybe, um, inspired at the moment, I still maintain, on the third or fourth watch of this series, that this episode brings me no pleasure.

    The most absurd part of this episode is that Worf wasn't court-martialed and cashiered out of Starfleet for intentionally sabotaging the weather modification network for an ENTIRE Federation world. Creating storms - even weak ones - could have gotten someone killed.

    It’s a shame this episode was written the way it was.

    Jadzia lives on forever in Dax. Obviously this makes her care less about time and commitment. Is Worff just an in between snack? And for Worff: he believes in an afterlife, will he see Jadzia there? Is there any part of Dax still in love with other lovers (although forbidden)?
    Obviously not enough to carry a Star Trek story, but align it with a better tech or political plot that sees Worff and Jadzia as opposites, and this would be a winner

    The whole fundamentalist story was shite, and Worffs crazy football story also didn’t make sense to me.

    This episode has only two reasons to watch it:

    Terry Farrell
    Chase Masterson
    (both of whom have reputations as being very likeable people)

    The show put out its eye candy for consumption and that's it. Otherwise, it's insufferably bad.

    D.S.9 goes Caribbean.

    The moralist/essentialist who looks every part the 1980s' televangelist.

    Vanessa Williams fracking you to death...literally. There's sure much worse ways to go, son!

    Jax in that faux-leather swimsuit. Phew!

    Hot chicas with perfect bodies and jugs that have so much milk you're set for breakfast cereals every day for the rest of your life. Hoochie mama!

    Then we get Bashir in a tank top. Duuuuuuuuuuude... No.

    That out of the way, this episode is far more insightful than Jammer (and most others) gave it credit for. Maybe the setup and execution were ham-fisted, but it concerns age-old truths that cut into trajectories and viability of entire civilizations.

    When people whom we today disparagingly call "puritans" rail against moral decay, we dismiss them with scorn and derision. But they are right. Hedonism leads to nihilism and nihilism leads to decadence. Decadence produces weak people, especially weak men, who live day-by-day, seeking little more than immediate gratification and temporary satiation of their immediate needs. There is nothing greater than themselves to care about and nothing longer-term than the now to work toward. Think: Don't have kids; buy a French bulldog and get stoned instead!

    Such a civilization is ripe for conquest or, indeed, manipulation by the corrupt powers that be. The West today is out-bred by confident Moslems, out-worked by the determined Chinese, and out-thought by the persistent Indians. Kol hakavod la5em! We're also being bled dry by mega-corporations working hand-in-hand with globalists such as Klaus Schwab, Bill Gates, the Kochs, etc. Do we care? No. We have our football and PlayStations, our takeouts, our Tinder, our S.S.R.I. (and other) drugs, our pronouns... - you name it.

    Of course, it happened many times throughout history. Warnings to shape up are scoffed at as reactionary, parochial diatribes from old fogies who don't know how to Have Fun™ and who want to Ruin It© for everyone.

    As somebody said (more or less): The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. But eternal vigilance is too much work, especially when you're living well, not having to struggle for even self-actualization, let alone the more basic needs. And so your civilization declines; maybe slowly like to Ottomans, maybe within a generation like the Romans. It's not a binary choice, sure, and it's perfectly possible for the pendulum to sway many times back and forth between utter decadence and fundamentalist puritanism. But, eventually, it WILL swing to the latter and then to the former, and there's not a damn thing anyone can do about it. Where Worf and the "televangelist" went wrong, despite their hearts being in the right place, is failing to realize that.

    Wanna know what's really funny though? Those who replace such civilizations go the same way, sooner or later. Now THAT's hilarious! "En 7adash ta7at hashemesh" (There's nothing new under the sun.) Everything is a cycle.

    Jammer, man, I think you ought to reevaluate this ep. It's far more insightful and its implications more far-reaching than you pegged it as.

    I'd like to just highlight to idea above that "jugs" are constituted of lots of milk. Maybe Michael meant that Risa's women own many literal milk jugs, which I expect would be kept safely in refrigeration units and out of the hot sun.

    That important issue aside, @ Michael, I agree that this episode is often underestimated, but one issue about the puritans being right about hedonism leading to decay is that Fullerton isn't just speaking in general terms, but specifically about the Federation. If someone now gave that speech about 2022 America I think there would be something to think about. But since it's pretty much stated *as a premise of the franchise* that the Federation does actually incorporate self-improvement as a society-wide goal, Fullerton seems to be barking up the wrong tree. It's sort of like arguing that soldiers in wartime shouldn't have shore leave: why not? So while I do respect the sort of message the episode gives the puritans, in practice it doesn't really apply to the Federation so well.

    It might be worth asking under what conditions Starfleet personnel could be toughened up. Frank Herbert suggested that being brought up in a very harsh and demanding environment (and therefore culture) such as we see in the Fremen could make a people very fierce. And in the case of a planetary invasion, say on Earth, could the citizens there offer appreciable resistance beyond Starfleet's own forces? But once again the realities of Trek mire this decent question, since unlike in the Dune universe, there are no cultural or technological reasons why a planet cannot just be blown away from orbit. The toughness of the citizenry in close quarters combat is mostly irrelevant, and wars will typically be reduced to who has starship supremacy. Because of this, if one was going to insist on marshalling maximum force to oppose a potential existential threat (like the Borg, or the Dominion) it would make far more sense to apportion most of the populace to supporting scientific and weapons research rather than toughening up bodily and giving up luxuries. A slightly better shield system will pay back far greater dividends than being battle-readied for ground combat in the mud. So once again I feel that Fullerton's arguments don't really hold water. But this is to an extent a technical writing problem since I think his arguments were *meant* to be logical, and Worf's agreement with them was meant to reflect his warrior's approach to situations (practically appearing as self-parody time and again on TNG). The counterpoint to these arguments should be that the Federation is tougher than it appears, or perhaps that this type of toughness won't matter against the Dominion. Instead of finding a resolution between these points, I think many viewers will just walk away thinking Fullerton is being idiotic (and therefore Worf as well), which it seems to me is a reading that undermines the point of the episode. The security vs laxity debate is supposed to underscore Worf and Jadzia's relationship, and to underline that each of them is right and wrong in certain ways and need to understand each other better. I do sort of see that in the episode and like it well enough, despite the content of the security side being mis-written.

    Bruh! You know perfectly well what jugs I was talking about. Come on now, brosky, don't be *that* guy. You're a Peter, not a Neil.

    Banter aside, yes, you're right and I agree completely. It's ridiculous to posit that letting one's hair down once in a while is going to lead to wholesale destruction of the entire Federation. Indeed, as you point out, R&R is an indispensable part of keeping up the morale as well as ensuring a strong body and mind. It is in every way preferable to a collective of regimented, on-edge Dudley Do-Rights.

    In the ep. both sides of the..."debate"...were caricatures of both themselves and their views, which is why I said it was all very ham-fisted. It's also why, sadly, I think Jammer and most of the viewers greatly underestimate and underrate it.

    I just got thinking about the title: it suggests that (I assume) Fullerton is accusing the cushy Federation citizens when he, himself, is ignoring his own faults. Or perhaps that if he wants to begin helping he should begin by being the thing he's preaching about. It doesn't mean he's wrong, per se, but it does mean he's choosing to focus on others rather than himself with his morals. Let's examine that.

    Fullerton's morals are puritanical, we claim, and argue that being too used to luxury makes the Federation (and I suppose Starfleet) weak. Assuming this applies to him as well, what about him strikes us as being luxurious and therefore weak? I suppose it must be the fact itself that he has the luxury to stand around preaching morals in the first place, rather than be spending his waking hours in a boot camp becoming a killing machine. But maybe it's not so much that his views can be lumped into the Puritan category that we should focus on, but simply the fact that he has high-minded ideals about how people could be better than they are. His ideals may differ from Jadzia's, but his aim seems to be that we can do better. And in that respect he does share a sort of luxury with the rest of the Federation: the ability to hold ivory tower concepts of right and wrong. And here's where I think we get into the meat of the episode.

    Up until this point in the series I think Starfleet's notion of warfare has mostly been that the Federation will remain what it always was and still always prevail. But in S3 we were given something entirely new: a Starfleet warship, the Defiant. And further, we learn that Starfleet began designing warships at around this time, to deal with the Borg. But this trend would continue through the series. Many here have maintained that simply by introducing a warship DS9 has betrayed the Trek ethos: it became about flashy power rather than high moral positions. And similarly, some DS9 episodes have been both praised and criticized for being a 'grey' version of the Trek ethos. And yet these objections seem to me to play directly into the Fullerton playbook: object in high-minded fashion when existential threats are being dealt with. It's not that high-minded ideals are innately hypocritical, but rather that they're something one must be in a privileged position to place as a top priority. In the case of a threat like the Borg it would be foolhardy to maintain the principle that Starfleet does not build warships. The vigilance required of a moral people is to take a compromise on this issue without becoming militaristic monsters. It's the reigning in of excesses that would mark the morality in the situation, not pretending that we can always stay the same and survive. And I think this is the message Let He Who Is Without Sin is advocating: that it's not weakness to compromise and change, even if we are fully committed, as both Worf and Jadzia are, to a previously held position.

    So this episode really goes far beyond two romantic couples, and speaks to the entire Trek franchise and whether it's permissible to show the Federation changing to an extent in order to deal with a major crisis. Fullerton's 'puritan' position is really an extension of Worf and Jadzia refusing to bend to understand each other: all three feel that they're entitled to just spout what they think is right and not compromise. But that doesn't make them moral, and instead makes them weak. The weakness isn't having the wrong opinion, it's being stuck in an opinion and refusing to modify it. And this is why Fullerton is just as stuck as the rest of them in a high-minded ideal, when the reality of the Dominion war is that, indeed, perhaps everyone must change to some extent in order to survive. And I think this principle is best encapsulated in Sisko throughout the series: he is essentially the epitome of looking for practical solutions to problems rather than trying to make all situations fit a pre-conceived philosophy. I think even For the Uniform can be better understood in this context, that different kind of solutions may be needed for different kinds of problems, and that sticking to a 'pure' principle might mean you simply fail in certain situations. Is that ok? Well you'd have to ask whether it's ok to let the Maquis (in that episode) essentially destroy Cardassian planets, leading to a massacre eventually. Maybe Sisko's solution had the best real outcome even though it was eyebrow-raising (I don't want debate this point here, post it in the other thread if you care to pursue it). In the remaining seasons of the series I think this question gets further exploration, and it's my contention that the issue is raised right here in this too much maligned episode.

    Peter, solid analysis.

    I don't think the Federation's purported vision of peaceful coexistence with everyone blinded it to the fact that it's sometimes not (going to be) reciprocated. Whether you called them warships or not, the Federation's vessels were well equipped to fight as well as to explore. The Enterprise could more than hold her own against the most powerful warcraft of hostile civilizations, and Star Fleet personnel was well-versed in all matter combat. I don't, therefore, see how the Defiant's emergence would represent any kind of a "betrayal."

    Bottom line: If you have a boxing match and your opponent rocks up to the ring with a chainsaw, you'd have be to be about a moron to insist you're nonetheless going to abide by the Queensbury Rules.

    Also very good point about "puritans" themselves hardly practicing what they preach. They inveigh about how the vacationers should instead be training to kick ass while themselves doing the opposite. Talk the talk, yes; walk the walk? Not so much!

    I'll give it 1.5 stars. It had it's moments. However:

    Never really been a fan of Risa because the costumes/decor/vibe are so cringey (and now, dated).

    Worf's speech would've been better if it hadn't used such a 20th century sport. Hearing him talk about "soccer" was weird.

    I feel Monte Markham was miscast & Vanessa Williams was wasted for what little her character had to do.

    I pretty much agree with Jammer's review. Worf and Jadzia's lovers' quarrel was not reminiscent of the maturity and experience of these characters. Dax is old, and Worf already has a son. They are seasoned officers. They've been through a lot as individuals. None of this is reflected in their relating. It looked more like late adolescents or early adults quarreling, which was disappointing.

    Leeta, Bashir and Quark's presence, I felt, was an ill-conceived attempt to illustrate other dimensions of relating, but it was so shallow and unexplored that it just became purely interpretive fluff. It wasn't so a much an issue of the more prudish nature of television at the time (compared to the year 2023 it was very tame), but more to do with the writing itself.

    Now... for the meat. The Essentialist plot was so poorly thought out. Their claims against decadence and hedonism made it seem like every Federation world had fallen into bourgeois decay or something. Meanwhile, their protest took place on a pleasure planet for vacationers. The whole thing seemed unrealistic in its proportions. Their accusation was that the Federation was not doing enough to stop the Dominion because people were too busy with leisure. Say what?

    The two scenes that made me give on this episode entirely (not even 1 star):

    1) When the essentialists trashed the Risan recreation center and weren't arrested immediately. Dax even threatens to do so but then backs down when she is told that the Risans won't prosecute. Ok so what? They could still be arrested and held to delay their protests. I find it hard that even a pleasure planet would not enforce laws that try to protect people's enjoyment of pleasure.

    2) When Worf sabotages the Risan weather control grid, a criminal act, and suffers absolutely no consequences.

    Compounding the plot problems was the weak transference between Worf and Dax's relationship problems and the Essentialist cause. Is there some reason why Worf would betray his oath to Starfleet and disable the weather control grid, just because of a relationship quarrel? The end speech does not justify the means. Poor you, you had an accident when you were a kid. All better!

    This episode was a disaster. And I never want to see Bashir in a tank top again. Thank god that by season 7 when we see him in bed with his short off, he has put on some meat. He looks like an emaciated teenager in this episode.

    This whole episode is rank from top to bottom for reasons discussed at length over the past 25 years, but I have to say that in light of the rise of incel ideology, having Worf do terrorism because he's having a fight with his girlfriend about her sexual past has aged as poorly as Discovery's Elon Musk shout out.

    As somebody who didn't love or hate the episode (it was just fine! and fun!) I am fascinated by the last decade of comments. Watching this episode in 2023 feels extremely timely. I wonder if viewers back in 2010 felt like we were past the moment in history in which the Essentialists' speeches sounded convincing. As other commenters have pointed out, these ideas are pretty popular nowadays, and the ways in which they are expressed are not any more subtle!

    (also, what's with the hate re: Bashir's tank top? the man looks like a normal dude on a tank top. he looks like any man at a pride parade in Florida*. he looks good!).

    *pre-2023, of course...

    The Essentialists are just reactionaries. Those people always exist. People who believe that going back to a glorified past will solve the problems of the present. Obviously forgetting that there were good reason that things have changed.

    It is also questionable if this really makes that much sense because political systems, be they democracies, autocracies or anocracies, are all transformed through capitalism into oligarchies. Oligarchies are very unstable and excessive. Creating the insecurity reactionaries often want to overcome with ancient methods.

    Problem is that there is no capitalism in Star Trek and no accumulation of great wealth or property for individuals so why would a society shift away/erode significantly it's own values? I never had the impression that Kirk and Co did enjoy life less than the DS9 or TNG people. The Federation was never all work and no fun. It seems that the Essentialist are confused reactionaries. Seeking a past that never existed in any way. Glorified or otherwise.

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