Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

“Change of Heart”

2.5 stars.

Air date: 3/2/1998
Written by Ronald D. Moore
Directed by David Livingston

"I didn't expect you to surrender so quickly."
"Bad word."
"Very bad."

— Dax and Worf

Review Text

It's a little difficult to say much that's relevant about an episode like "Change of Heart," simply because there isn't a whole heck of a lot to say. If I wanted to be incredibly concise rather than stretching this review out to 1,000 words with needless filler, I probably could do so without taking anything away from the big picture.

But isn't that kind of what "Change of Heart" did? Stretched the show out to an hour by using filler? A show that probably could've said what it needed to say in half the screen time?

"Change of Heart" is a pleasant hour of DS9 fluff that features a finale with some poignant relevance. The end result is definitely not opaque and hardly challenging. But at the same time, I think it said some things that needed saying. I've stated on many occasions that Worf and Dax as a couple haven't compelled me mainly because the writers haven't made the relationship ... well, affectionate enough. Much of Worf/Dax has boiled down to clichés with an occasional one-liner or sentiment that works.

So let's cut to the chase: The one overwhelming bit of relevance to "Change of Heart" is its ending, in which Worf—who has been forced to leave Dax behind after she was critically injured during a crucial intelligence mission—decides he must put his wife first and duty second by abandoning his mission so he can get his wife medical attention. I'll admit that the inevitable outcome of this episode was about as predictable as they come, but it did finally show where Worf's priorities were, and, for once, the Worf/Dax relationship worked for me on an emotional level.

There's a good scene at the end, where Sisko asks Worf what happened, and Worf explains—he gave up the mission to save Jadzia. The mission was of utmost importance and the defector's information might've been capable of saving millions of lives. But it just didn't matter—Jadzia came first. The ending is interesting because it seems to show just what Worf was risking by making his choice. By all accounts, he should be facing court martial for ignoring duty. (Starfleet won't risk exposing their intelligence strategies by doing so, however.) And Sisko's sobering prediction that Starfleet will probably not offer Worf a command as a result of the incident strikes me as a pretty significant consequence to come out of the episode. But most important is that this finally manages to make me believe that Worf loves Dax; the sentiment transcends the feeling I usually have that I'm just watching the lovers' actions as conjured by a writer. I especially liked that Worf fully accepted the consequences, and spelled out in dialog that he would do it again if he had to make the choice between his wife and his duty.

Unfortunately, this sentiment doesn't quite overcome its own painfully obvious inevitability. And most of the rest of the episode is filler material—not pointless, but not exactly essential, either. There's quite a bit of trivial Worf/Dax dialog. I thought a lot of it worked, though it was in no danger of being particularly compelling. The early scenes do a good job of balancing cuteness and marital bickering. And finally seeing Worf lighten up is refreshing, including the emergence of his reluctant sense of humor. (Worf: "I have a sense of humor. On the Enterprise I was considered to be quite amusing." Dax: "That must've been one dull ship." Worf: "That is a joke! I get it. It is not funny, but I get it.")

Still more filler includes a Runabout flight through an asteroid belt (otherwise known as "DS9 does The Empire Strikes Back"), which was visually neat but not exactly important. And the episode's Quiet Dialog Scenes are simultaneously pleasant, plentiful, and non-essential.

The details of the actual plot aren't all that important, but they set the premise in motion with some reasonable and plausible intrigue. Worf and Dax's secret assignment is to rendezvous with a Cardassian informant named Lasaran (Todd Waring) who wants to defect. I've always found the idea of internal turmoil on Cardassia intriguing, mostly because I don't think everyone there is happy as a Dominion puppet. Lasaran's brief role in the story is evidence of just that—plus, his up-front distaste of his potential rescuers and his very-Cardassian arrogance prove convincing.

I am, however, going to have to register a minor complaint about the way the plots recently have been teasing with their purports of relevance and rarely carrying through. Such plot pieces almost always have something to do with the DS9 current events, yet they rarely end up having a lasting impact. I was genuinely interested by the kind of intelligence information that Lasaran could've offered to the Federation, but since the main drive of the story was the love versus duty angle, Lasaran's doomed fate was basically never in doubt. I think DS9 needs to return to substantive plotting that adds to the canvas, because such plotting has often been the real strength of the series. We haven't received much "true" story-building material since "Sacrifice of Angels." Sure, there have been a number of interesting little pieces that have dwelled in the background, but I'm beginning to thirst for something that will matter in the long run as well as the short.

The B-story—in which O'Brien coaches Bashir to play a game of tongo against Quark—is standard, inconsequential subplot fluff, though it manages to connect itself to the main plot reasonably by way of a scene where Quark distracts Bashir from his game with the somber musing over how both Bashir and himself have lost Jadzia to Worf. The sentiment is interesting, if a bit belated. I rather liked Quark's answer to Bashir's question of whether Quark meant what he said or if he was just trying to take advantage of Bashir's resulting distraction: "Doctor, you don't expect me to show you all my cards."

There's not much else to say. Overall, this is a transparent episode that doesn't ask you to think much. Then again, love, by nature, isn't really a subject that demands us to think. Not to be completely clichéd, but "Change of Heart" is a tale of the heart (and it even has "heart" in the title). On that level it works okay, though it's firmly grounded in the routine.

Next week: A rerun of "Favor the Bold." The fragmented repeat schedule of the six-part story arc doesn't strike me as logical, but, hey, what can you do?

Previous episode: Honor Among Thieves
Next episode: Wrongs Darker Than Death or Night

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Comment Section

103 comments on this post

    I can't help but think that it would've been more moving if Jadzia had died at this point in the series, instead of half a season later.

    Jammer - In regards to the last comment - Some people (myself included) are reading your reviews AS we're going though the series - can you please delete it?

    Charlie - Thanks a lot.


    Then you probably don't want to know that Dukat is actually Sisko's father and Kira's his twin sister. Or that Kukalaka is in fact not Bashir's teddy bear, but his sled.

    (If it's any consolation, it wasn't much of a surprise during the series' initial run, either - it was pretty common knowledge that Terry Farrell wasn't returning for the seventh season.)

    I agree with pretty much everything you say here, Jammer, save for the fact that I'd rate it higher. Not that I'm taking issue; it just illustrates how subjectively people are going to react to a story such as this. Quite simply, I was moved. There was nothing terribly original in the story, but it was performed and directed well enough that the sentiments, however well-worn, felt genuine, and for a story as simple as this, that's probably the best thing it can have going for it.

    Actually, this is one of those star ratings that I'd revise if I were to revise long-ago reviews. When I saw this again on DVD a few years ago, I realized it was easily a 3-star episode. It worked much better than I'd remembered.

    Well I agree with Charlie on this one: What an episode, if Jadzia had died and Worf would have chosen Duty before his wife and she would have died because of it. It would have had tremendous storytelling opportunities.

    I was quite moved by the episode. I for my part always liked Jadzia Dax as a character and was quite fond of her marriage to Worf.

    I'll just mention that all modern militaries prohibit husbands and wives from serving in the same chain of command, expressly to avoid the kinds of situations "addressed" by this episode, as I am reminded by constantly by friends and acquaintances currently in service. So for me, I found the plot setup tedious and entirely a writer's conceit, which destroyed any resonance the episode might have had.

    I thought this was Worf's best outing since "Way of the Warrior".

    He had been written as a stern, grumpy character who was good at fighting and took command of the Defiant now and again. In this episode we get to see Worf having a real relationship with someone. Instead of cliched arguements like we typically see with Dax and Worf, we see Worf willing to compromise, willing to have fun and willing to sacrifice his entire career to save Jadzia's life. If there's one thing that Trek has never done well, it's romantic relationships. But this episode was about as poignant as you can get for a character like Worf.

    I agree with Jammer's revision to 3 stars. I don't think it's fair to criticise this episode based on not contributing much to the larger canvas, because there are loads of other standalone episodes. At least this one not only made Worf and Dax's relationship truly convincing for perhaps the first time ever, but it also had a lasting impact on a character by explicitly stating that Worf would not be able to advance his career any further. This makes his future role as an ambassador in "What you Leave Behind" all the more believable, because Worf wasn't going to be a First Officer or a Captain any time soon, if ever.

    Unfortunately Star Trek Insurrection and Star Trek Nemesis messed that up by putting him on the bridge of a starship again!

    This should have been Jadzia's would have been ten thousand times more poignant than the trite death-by-supernatural-being that she suffered.

    We watched this last night and while on the first run I hated it, second time I loved it- we were actually crying by the end!

    I also agree with the commenter who thought this should be Jadzia's swansong- but then we would have missed the touching scene at the end. I think this is the only DS9 ep so far where I've actually liked Worf!

    Good stuff.

    EP: Starfleet isn't the military.

    I think that this episode is the high point of Terry Farrell's performance as Jadzia Dax. The dialogues flow naturally, you start to buy the two as a married couple, and then her pain is really convincing. I'm also in the "it was better than I remembered" category on this one.

    The episode certainly deserves at least 3 stars. I guess it all hinges on whether you find their relationship compelling. I've always found that it is so the episode moved me.

    The idea that a married couple would be sent together on such an important mission is hard to believe however. It makes Sisko appear very naive that he only realises afterwards it's a bad idea.

    I haven't seen "Tears of the Prophets" yet, but I agree with the above comments that having Jadzia die in this episode would have been fantastic. I heard that even Terry Farrell asked them to do this when she read the script. Talk about putting a character through hell to get good drama!

    Yes, Starfllet is supposed to be the military. In Rapture, the admiral states that part of admission into the Federation involves "absorbing their military into Starfleet"

    Definitely at least 3.5 stars for me. This is far better than many 2.5 star episodes out there.

    It occurs to me that if the transporter essentially recreates a person's pattern from new matter each time it's used, anyone that suffers a trauma could simply be transported using their pattern from the last time they used it before they suffered the injury, and be "healed".

    Very good episode. It definitely deserved the bump up to 3 stars. Worf and Dax were the most convincing as a couple in this episode.

    One of my all time favorite episodes of ds9. It's the first episode I ever watched and I fell in love with the characters of Jadzia and Worf (I actully used to love Worf from TNG but here I adored him) and their relationship. It must be one of the best and most realistics romantic relationships in any star trek.

    I love that episode. Michael and Terry have great chemistry and make Worf and Jadzia's relationship both realistic and magical.

    Great episode with amazing performances by Michael dorn and terry farrell. In my opinion worf and dax were one of themost convincing and functional couples in star trek

    Really just a fluff episode, no chemistry between Worf and Dex. 2 Stars from me

    One of the best episodes of Worf in ds9. It really shows the deep relationship Worf and Jadzia share.

    I absolutelly love the relasionship between Worf and Jadzia. As others have said it's one of the most realistics in any Star Trek. Very good episode, funny at first and emotional later. I loved the ending.

    A match made in sto-vo-kor! Best love story in all Star Trek! I love the way Worf and Jadzia love each other, I love their banter, their personalities and how much fun they have with each other! They are the perfect match.

    Terrible episode with many groanworthy moments between Worf and Dax involving cheesy jokes made even duller by the general lacklustre delivery and lack of chemistry between them.

    It definatelly deserves a 3 stars rating. It's a deep and emotional episode with great perfomances.

    I love this episode, Jadzia and Worf are so cute together! Great performances By Michael Dorn and Terry Farrell and beaytiful chemistry. Love the direction

    The episode was absurd both from a military and common sense point of view. No wonder Starfleet seems to always be losing their wars...
    A better set up would have been they are finally going on a honeymoon and then this situation arises...

    I agree with most of what was said, except for the idea that the ending was predictable. I watched this episode first run many years ago and I remember thinking that he'd somehow find a way to save Jadzia and still complete the mission. That's how things always seem to work out. I was very surprised that the good guy didn't manage to make it all okay in the end.

    This episode, once again, showed Dax doing what she does best...get injured and start dying.

    I absolutely love this episode. Yes it has its flaws from a millitary perspective but Worf and Jadzia's scenes are pure gold!

    This episode had some of the best character moments of the entire series! I love Worf and Jadzia as a couple, they feel very real and at the same time they're fun, cute and hot together!

    I just watched this episode again. I don't know why, but it was sitting there, so I popped it in. UGH... Apart from the emotional goodness that Jammer mentioned (Worf and Jazdia chemistry always seemed a bit forced), I really HATED this episode, mainly because the premise is totally B.S.

    Love over duty? What kind of man would chose duty over his wife? Most militaries (the U.S. included) will not assign a married couple, siblings, etc. to any dangerous operation for this very reason. If Star Fleet doesn't have the common sense to reassign someone else in Worf's or Jadzia's place, then they deserve to have the mission to be a failure and lose the war to the Dominion.

    It has been said before in previous seasons that Chief O'Brien or Major Kira were superior pilots, so why didn't either one go with Worf instead?That brilliant asteroid field scene would have made more sense. Odo has made rendezvous with Cardassian agents before. Why not him? It's utterly ridiculous.

    This "love versus duty" angle felt fabricated from the very beginning, and has since become a favorite of Ronald Moore. You see it over and over again in Battlestar Galactica (done much better and more convincing) with Adama and Lee, Lee and Kara, "Athena" and Karl, Karl and Hera, etc.

    I'm not saying that the premise is bad. It's just the execution here in this episode that comes off completely fake, while the consequences of failure seriously impacts Worf's career path. I would have loved to have seen Worf become one hell of a Star Fleet captain, one day.

    I am re-watching the series since I missed so many when it was airing. I saw this episode last night and enjoyed it so much it compelled me to search for reviews.

    I have to admit the missteps were annoying but the end result makes it worthwhile. Like others have said "Change of Heart" finally gave Jadzia and Worf what they needed to be a viable couple.

    I do believe this was the most romantic episode and they are now my favorite couple.

    Also I find people are still commenting about this series years after it first aired is AWESOME!

    Come on people. This is fiction. Me being a 11-year Army vet, if I can accept the love over duty I'm sure you can too. In general, Star Trek isn't exactly based on reality.

    I'd give this episode no less than 3 stars. For all the predictability(though not completing the mission was a shocker) and cliches this story has the payoff in the final scenes make it all worthwhile. And the overall chemistry with Michael and Terry was completely on on full blast. They are officially the best couple Star Trek has produced by far.

    I will concur with a couple of others: I didn't predict that Worf would fail to complete the mission. And felt that the conclusion fit in well with his character development.

    About 3 stars.

    It's funny Jammer thought it was predictable, since RDM has said Worf letting the informant die and going back for his wife was supposed to be quite the surprise. I suppose beyond that one element, the rest of the episode is fairly obvious.

    Also according to Memory-Alpha, Terry Farrell suggested that Jadzia die in this episode since they knew by this point she was leaving. That really would have been fantastic.

    As said above, sending a married couple does seem a recipe for disaster. You could write a scenario where it *had* to be those two, that would have helped. Maybe send them off en route to their honeymoon, then make meeting the informant come up suddenly and with a smaller window, so they're the only ones close enough to make it in time?

    @davidk: they actually tried making it a scenario where it had to be these two: when Kira informs Dax and Worf about the mission, she mentions that the Defiant is off, as are many of the runabouts, to which Dax replies, somewhat sarcastically, "we just volunteered".

    Of course, that's not all too convincing, since they're now supposed to be the headquarters of the ninth fleet (or something), and even if they weren't I can't imagine Dax and Worf to be the only qualified officers on the station to pull of such a mission. But hey.

    I loved this episode. I always like Worf and Dax together but this really brought it home for me. However, I do agree with some of the others that sending them off together was silly but it has been done before.

    Finally we get an episode, that gives an argument for Jadzia and Worf having a relationship!

    Up until now, I just didn't buy it - maybe because Worf has always annoyed the heck out of me. But here, he seems to have more nuances than just "I had fun once - I hated it!" showing in his face and voice. And, given more substance to the character by the writers, Michael Dorn delivers very well!

    Terry Farrell's acting is terrific as well! She sells the "humour as a shield" part of Jadzia extremely well. I particularly loved the scenes, where she knew she was pretty much dieing, and tried being her own perky self through the pain and tears. Not all actors can pull off acting several emotions at once like she does here!

    I was surprised that Worf didn't end up saving both the informant and Jadzia - and that he chose Jadzia over his duty. I liked it! Good drama, something the Worf character needed - in my eyes, we've never really seen him handled properly, and that includes all the Alexander episodes and the Worf's family honor episodes of the past - they never made Worf work as a 3-dimensional character for me.

    So this episode really made some important parts of the Trek universe finally work for me: Worf and the Jazia/Worf relationship.

    Good episode!

    .. and i completely agree with you, Tiarse, it's great that people are still commenting and discussing this series over a decade after it ended.

    Just goes to show that Star Trek is something special ;)

    I do not agree with most of the posters. I love the characters of Dax and Worf and enjoyed the romantic interplay. It was entertaining and opened up their relationship a bit and showed how living with DAX had begun to change Worf. However, Cisco and Kiera should take the responsibility for the failure of the mission because sending husband and wives into combat together is a recipe for disaster and would never be done. That said, it is the writing staff that really is at fault because Worf's decision make no sense even in light of his revelation about Klingon history. That is itself does not seem to make much sense given that Klingon society is based on sacrifice for duty and honor. A better example would the movie about the 300 Spartans where the wife of Leonidus tells him when he goes off to battle to be victorious or do not come back. That would be the correct view of Klingon woman regarding his husband going into combat (IMHO -- what do any of really know about what it is like to actually be a Klingon).

    I offer this as a reason for not buying Worf's decision to save his wife over performing his duty. What if there were 100 Starfleet people who were in jeopardy and his mission was to meet them an evacuate them? Would he have chosen to save his wife? It is absurd to think that a person believed to have information that could end a war with the Dominion that was already going badly (or at least a huge blow to them and even the playing field) would be sacrificed for a wife or husband or friend. Billions of lives could be saved potentially. If asked the question before the mission if he would sacrifice his own life and that of his wife to save billions of people, what do you think Worf's response would be? I believe with out question that both he and Dax would have said in no uncertain terms, that the lives of billions would come first.

    I also think at the end when Dax makes light of Worf's decision to save her, is another failure of the writers. She would feel a tremendous responsiblity for his decision and I believe would be pained to think for years after that she had lived when her death could potentially have saved billions and even ended the war with the Dominion. I also think that she would have some concerns that their relationship might be responsible for Worf losing his edge. She must have known at that point that his career in Starfleet would pretty much be over.

    Another point is that after that failure by Worf in his mission, he would have been sent to some outpost somewhere and probably never see Dax much because the distances would be so great. Starfleet Command would make sure that he never was put in a position of command and in any position where he was am important link in the chain of command. Dax and Worf are in the military and the military, when giving out important missions, do not deal kindly with people who fail because they do not live up to the military code (in this case the repeated phrase "a Starfleet Officer". The fact that Worf reappears later in other Star Trek movies with a command also shows that no one really took Cisco's words that he would never have a command very seriously.

    Also, I take exception to the fact that Cisco would have admitted to Worf that he would have done the same thing. It was a failure in the chain of command and a serious one that Cisco, by making this admission to Worf, is compounding because it would set an example for other Starfleet Officers. One comment that I agree with is that it is no wonder that the Dominion was kicking their butts in the war. This kind of breakdown from the commander of one of the most important stations in Starfleet would reverberate through Starfleet itself.

    I provided one final example from real life that is somewhat related regarding what individual Marines at one of the battles in the South Pacific were willing to sacrifice. It was Tulagi, I think. I saw it in a documentary. There was situation where tanks were being used to attack a vital position. And for some reason it was required that individuals Marines had to jump up on the front of the tank to keep the tank which were fitted with firethrowers operational. To jump and do what needed to be done, the Marine knew that it would be certain death, and yet as one Marine after another were killed, another would jump up without hesitation.

    I contrast that with Worf, a super Marine, who, by allowing him to decide in favor of his wife over the fate of millions totally depricated that whole concept of what being Klignon warrior means. His comrades in arms, fellow Klignon, I believe would shun him for this failure.

    I also think the Klignon legend seems a bit contrived to fit the story line. Shame on the writing staff for justifying the ending by injecting this fable into Klignon litergy.

    The fact the Farrell begged them to let her die shows how much she had invested in her character and that she knew that this episode would not fly. And what would have made it even more interesting would be if Warf was not able to rescue the man and he lost out on both ends. That would truly be tragic. Then he could spend many episodes mourning her death and wondering about the Klignon legend of the husband and wife who even challenged the gods by their devotion to each other. Now you have am issue that could affect Warf's dedication to honor and duty.

    The interaction between Worf and Dax was actually pretty good in this one, but I don't like the ending.


    I don't know if I ever bought Worf's & Jadzia's relationshi. In S4, it was there, but in S5 & S6, it seemed a little rush. I think this episode was necessary to give some 'evidence' of the relationship. I dunno. I did, however, Worf's talk with Jadzia at the end, so sweet.

    We care about Jadzia, while the millions who may die because of Worf's actions are mere statistics. I suspect we would not have been so forgiving it instead of Worf and Jadzia, it had been two officers we didn't know and if the people who died were not statistics but characters we knew and loved.

    I think this episode stands up fine, Terry Ferrell just jumps off the screen whenever she is on it, even after dragging her through the jungle she can still make the script work and good support from Michael Dorn, they both really carried the whole episode.

    One of the few decently written romantic eps I have seen....

    I remember when I first saw this one, I was actually surprised Worf went back for Jadzia. I was really expecting him to carry out his duties and coming back to find her either dead or some other change in plot that would have her still alive. Though if that'd happened I would rather have her dead as any plot contrivance to have her somehow be alive would have to be very well done.

    While in the hypothetical realm here, I had a thought that this particular episode would have been a perfect one to have "that talk" between Kira and Odo as the B-plot. That would mean this would have likely needed to be aired earlier in the season. Not that the B-plot here was bad by any means, but given the nature of the episode and even the title alone seems a fit for me. Either that or I'm just losing it.

    Anyway, it worked for me as it is and I can't really find fault with anything other than a couple moments of uninspired dialogue. Not a great episode but definitely worth watching. The scenes on the runabout and the final act are standouts as is the quietly poignant "Klingon heartbeat" moment in the jungle.

    3 stars.

    I've read Jammer's reviews and the comments on this episode and I just shake my head.

    Unbelievable. Somehow folks want to justify this crap episode by saying “we finally get a Worf/Jadzia romance episode”? WTF!!!

    JAM: “but it did finally show where Worf's priorities were” LOL … REALLY?

    This episode just makes Sisko and Worf look like silly fake military officers. What ever happened to "they all knew the risk when they signed up"?

    Come one man...

    RichN - Wed, Oct 30, 2013 - 9:55am (USA Central), your post is right on the money.

    My god, the "warrior" Worf is sent on a GLORIOUS mission, one that could reveal the location of ALL the Founders in the Alpha Quadrant and he ends up sacrificing a big-time operative and the entire mission? IN THE MIDDLE OF A WAR!!! .... and Sisko ends up saying:

    "SISKO: As your captain, it is my duty to tell you that you made the wrong choice. I don't think Starfleet will file any formal charges. Even a secret court martial would run the risk of revealing too much about their intelligence operations. But this will go into your service record, and to be completely honest, you probably won't be offered a command on your own after this.
    WORF: I understand.
    SISKO: I have also issued new orders. You and Jadzia are not to be assigned to a mission on your own ever again. And one last thing. As a man who had a wife, if Jennifer had been lying in that clearing I wouldn't have left her either."

    He puts a "you were bad letter" in his record and CONDONES HIS ACTIONS by stating he would have done the same thing!! ARE YOU FRELLIN KIDDING ME!!!! This is the same captain that didn’t go back for his son because of the mission?

    All the command prowess Sisko has built up to this point is GONE. (this REALLY pi$$ed me off!!) Worf should be reduced in rank and detained or at the least removed from Star Fleet! Sisko should have thrown him in the brig!

    I also don't like Jadzia's reaction to Worf’s actions:

    "DAX: I know how much your career means to you."

    Really? It's all about his "career"? (slaps forehead) What happened to honor?

    This is all just so pitiful.

    It's a shame, because I thought Terry's acting in this episode was her finest performance in the entire series.

    This episode could have been a 4 star classic!! Even if Jadzia didn’t die (which I thought she should have) Worf should have completed his mission, knowing all along that his par'machkai would very well die but he is honor bound as a Star Fleet Officer and a Klingon Warrior to complete the mission! Why didn’t these narcissistic and dishonorable acts reflect poorly on the House of Martok? Martok should have gone ballistic!

    I hope Sisko doesn’t get a call from Kassidy during a mission… eesh…

    1 star because Terry’s performance was outstanding.

    ***Bangs head on desk***

    This episode is so damn frustrating.

    "This is the same captain that didn’t go back for his son because of the mission?"

    Bwuh? When did Sisko leave Jake behind?

    Also, I didn't read that as Sisko condoning Worf's actions. I read it as him being honest and saying that he would have made the same WRONG choice. Worf and Jadzia never should have gone on a mission like that together.

    As for Martok, I'm assuming leaving your wife in a ditch is dishonorable too. Unless you have the Klingon bible over there with the priority list for demerits, I'm not sure we can discuss how dishonorable it was.

    "SIRELLA: And will you swear to join with her and stand with her against all who oppose you?
    WORF: I swear. "

    Breaking a promise is pretty dishonorable, be it a promise to stand with your wife always or a promise to fulfill your Starfleet duty. Which is worse? I suppose we'll have to find a Klingon to ask. As far as honor though, something tells me Martok won't have a cow about it.

    I'm surprised you have such a negative reaction, I thought this one was a stand out, especially amongst the (mostly... with a few huge exceptions) middling second half of S6.


    Sirella's line is meant to defend against enemies and other houses. Everyone knows that. No one needs a "Klingon bible".

    In 'Call to Arms' Sisko (rightly) chose not to go back for Jake.

    "SISKO: I can't risk the entire crew for one man, even though he is my son. Whether I like it or not, he is a man, capable of making his own choices. Maintain current course."

    This episode spits in the face of what we know "duty" and "honor" to be. Episode after episode (in all Trek series) reinforce that. (except for this one). Especially for someone (Sisko) that will give the order “Hold” in ‘The siege of ARR588’ and (Worf) in FC “It is a good day to die, ramming speed!”. (Helmsman: No sir, wait - my wife is on the...)

    I too think that Dax should have died in this episode, considering that it was known by then that she would leave the series. As for Worf and subsequent commands: some people are reading a bit too much into Sisko's statement here, methinks.

    Having said that, I'm with Robert on this one: as far as I remember, we simply do not know the exact priorities of Klingons when it comes to duty to their spouse.

    Yanks wrote in the preceding comment that "Sirella's line [And will you swear to join with her and stand with her against all who oppose you?] is meant to defend against enemies and other houses. Everyone knows that." Exactly. But what is leaving Dax behind, if not leaving your wounded wife behind at the mercy of your enemies, presuming Dominion troops come back for their dead, only to find them all killed by Federation weapon signatures?

    I'm not really a fan of Klingon episodes, so I may be wrong, but I find it completely believable that the first duty of a Klingon is to his wife.

    If this is true, I can perfectly understand Worf's dilemma in this episode, since as a Starfleet Officer, his first duty is to Starfleet; and why he ultimately chooses as he does.

    The problem is that in the modern, bureaucratic Western world we have grown accostumed to the concept of duty as a professional duty more than a moral one, the professional considerations normally taking precedence over all other considerations. But it is entirely believable that Klingons feel otherwise. Most cultures on Earth did so until very recently: throughout most human history, your first duty was always to your family. Many would say it still is. So who is to say that Worf isn't following his Klingon honour code in saving his wife rather than completing the mission?

    "I shall sing the song of Worf, son of Mogh, and Dax, daughter of Kela, on the planet Soukara! The tale of a great warrior who could have ended a great war, but instead chose to save his incomparable wife! One of the greatest songs of the Klingon Hearts!"

    Who is to say this won't be a Klingon classic ever after? As the Tamarians would put it: Worf and Dax, on Soukara :)

    Overall, a solid three stars seems right.

    At the very least, Worf should be reassigned. You can't leave him on the same station with Dax -- how do you know a similar situation won't arise again?

    And I think you have to demote him as well. The word *will* get out -- you can't appear to do anything but come down harshly on his behavoir.
    "You won't make command" sounds like a real consequence, but in the context of a TV series, it's far off and nebulous... and they didn't even stick with it....

    As for Klingon morals -- wife vs. military necessity. He's a Klingon warrior, not a Klingon farmer. I think the choice would be pretty clear.....

    I like this one quite a bit. I'd consider it a hidden gem of the series. It's not one that I'd ever show as a stand-alone, but it really rewards long-time viewers with some really nice Worf, Dax, and even Bashir moments.

    On the O'Brien-Bashir sub-plot: I like how this story climaxes half way through the episode. At first it seems like it's getting too much screen time, but by the time it's over it's satisfying. It even has a bit of a Joyce feel to it, in that it starts out as a fun little O'Brien scheme and ends up with BASHIR getting a bit of a revelation. It's played with a slightly comedic bent, but it's not fluff (at least, not to me). I like this sub-plot and I think it's one of the better executed "B" plots of the series.

    On the Worf-Dax plot: I enjoyed the "filler". In fact, I enjoy a lot of the Worf-Dax exchanges in past episodes, and it's nice to see them get a serious hour to themselves. A lot of the times their relationship is lighthearted (which was probably the right move), but I liked the seeing minutiae of their married life. It adds a more lived-in feel to both their relationship and the series.

    Their interactions were believable (especially Dax's irreverent attitude towards bad situations) and genuinely enjoyable. I like the execution of the ambush on the Jem'Hadar too. Not elaborate, and as rugged as it should have been. The Jem'Hadar didn't look like poor shots either, missing characters who are standing out in the open (sometimes that happens on this show). The Cardassian officer gets just as much screen time as he needs to. His role in the story isn't treated with more screen time than it deserves. I like that the episode kills him off screen too.

    Since everyone's going hog wild with future spoilers - I also think this would have been a good place to kill Dax. But, on the other hand, it's also nice that the first serious look we get at their married life doesn't also become a foreboding presence over the episode. I don't like when shows flesh things out only to destroy them shortly after. It's manipulative, but this episode doesn't do that. I still think this would have been a good send-off for Dax, but I think there's some pretty good value in that not being the case too!

    Oh, and the asteroid dodging scene? I liked it. Filler? Maybe, but the effects were good and it was only like 30 seconds long and... well, sometimes I just like some excitement during these transit scenes!

    Anyway, I think this is a strong episode in nearly every way. But I can see why some might not dig it. A strong 3 stars for me. One of the better "small" episodes from this season.

    Worf: "On the Enterprise I was considered to be quite amusing."
    Dax: "That must have been one dull ship."
    Worf: "That is a joke! I get it. It is not funny, but I get it."

    That has to be somewhere in the top 5 Best Worf Exchanges ever.

    "This should have been Jadzia's would have been ten thousand times more poignant than the trite death-by-supernatural-being that she suffered. "

    Couldn't agree more. This is a really great episode and mostly because it's the first one (ever?) that really shows the Dax / Worf marriage as being believable. This one works on a lot of levels. Dorn does a hell of an acting job here. And so does Terry! Finally they give her something meaty to do since some of the season 2 or 3 episodes.

    Captain Sisko should have been the one in trouble for putting Worf in that position anyway. He never should have sent husband and wife on the same mission unless it was absolutely necessary.

    @ Darknet:

    Sisko didn't send them. He wasn't even on the station. It was Kira that sent them.

    I have consistently disliked the Worf-Dax scenes - until now. It's so strange though, and makes me wonder if the writers actually did that controlling/abusive/disrespectful/sexist Worf on purpose. Given what was possible here, AND the fact that Worf clearly recognizes this as a drastically different (accepting, loving) way to be - I'm just baffled with why the writers wanted to depict their relationship in that stupid way all this time.

    It's not just that Worf 'lightened up'. The first scene, I kind of expected Worf to be watching from afar. After all, he has shown himself to be Exactly the kind of husband who will be glowering and disapproving that his wife is out late at night having fun and doing 'independent' things. Instead, and very happily surprised I was, Worf was taking pride in her ability in the game. The absolute FIRST romantic thing that came out of his mouth that wasn't cliche, wasn't un-Klingon, wasn't completely stupid - was when he said he would back a losing Jadzia over a winning anyone else. THANK YOU. At least now it makes sense for someone to marry this guy.

    Worf's character really showed in this episode that he IS capable of following her lead, respecting her decisions, adjusting around her as well, and recognizing that his universe isn't the only universe. Even the ending where he says he would want the same from her and she jokingly/half-jokingly implies she'd put her career first - his response is GOOD. He doesn't start frowning and questioning her love/loyalty even for a half-joke.

    So this was great in terms of these two, and I am so happy to have this one episode of sanity for an otherwise almost disturbing relationship (and Worf characterization). IN fact, I think it WAS very deliberate because Worf mentions how he was on TNG, and that's also a hint that they really did change his character a lot on this one.

    In terms of the plot and stuff - I totally agree that it was stupid to have NO major plot impact with all that, with absolutely NOTHING taken back from the mission. It seemed really thin that Worf wasn't immediately facing any consequences. That's kind of standard Trek stuff - a lot of major characters can do unacceptable things and get some kind of 'censure' which is so in the future that by the next episode it's vanished. That was pretty unbelievable, there should have been some consequence. Worf can easily use a few episodes of glory to reaffirm his case for why he should be a commander.


    "That's kind of standard Trek stuff - a lot of major characters can do unacceptable things and get some kind of 'censure' which is so in the future that by the next episode it's vanished."

    That's nothing, Sisko uses a WMD on a Marquis planet and then laughs about it at the end with Dax. No slaps on the wrist or anything!

    Two more major failures that haven't been added above are...

    1) the complete inability of the federation to prepare for the anti coagulant that they now know for certain is in all jem'haddar disruptors. Why bring a medkit at all if you aren't going to put in a simple coagulation agent?? A single line about how it's just so advanced that they can't do anything would have fixed this, but left ignored it's weak.

    And 2) the factor that made me really disgusted with this episode, was that complete disregard for life that star trek all too often showcases (unless it's a regular! Then they just have to jump through all the hoops and make certain death a minor inconvenience). This wasn't merely Worf choosing duty over his wife, but his wife over duty, AND the life of a man to whom he made a promise full well knowing that his wife or he might die in the process (his wife having made the same promise and accepted the same risk). Perhaps for him to even then make the decision shows the strength of his love (although making equally clear how very little his honor is worth, even in fairly base human terms). But instead, the end of the episode completely ignores that Worf allowed, indeed, chose that a man who had risked literally every danger for the federation/cardassia/the alpha quadrant and who had essentially begged for help escaping, Worf choose that he should be promised help and then left to die. And neither Sisko not Dax not Worf himself even acknowledges what he's done. No, just laughs and jokes that this hurt his career, someday, maybe, not really! If they had included a scene of the defector reaching the rendezvous point and being wracked with worry, grief, and desperation as it dawns on him that he's been abandoned, or the sight of him being gunned down because of worf's perfidiousness, perhaps the audience wouldn't feel so lighthearted and jocular about dax's rescue. I have said in other posts that Kirk used to show more moral fiber in tos, so even at the risk of sounding like a broken record I would like to note that he seemed generally to care about and regret the deaths of each of the eponymous red shirts that the scripts showed so much disregard for.

    Agree on both points Ascii.

    Andy's Friend,

    Sorry so long to respond...

    "I'm not really a fan of Klingon episodes, so I may be wrong, but I find it completely believable that the first duty of a Klingon is to his wife."

    Maroks wife would have killed him had he not gone to battle. :-)

    No songs are sung for Klingons that choose their wife over battle.

    This was the episode where DS9 jumped the shark for me. As a fervent fan of Worf since the beginning, I could not (and still cannot) conceive of him making that choice. I never watched DS9 again.

    This is a great episode if you just like seeing good conversation between two characters. The fact that is between Worf and Dax is a breath of fresh air.....But...

    The fact a married couple is sent on a very dangerous mission, when we see in the same episode capable people like O'Brien occupied with card games, is an insult to any viewer that has a brain!

    You can say non-star fleet Kira assigned them or Star Fleet is not predominately not a military force. However, my first rebuttal is while Kira was part of a unorganised fighting force she would still have the common sense not to do this. She would not send two people who have a romantic connection when she has the choice of so many others!

    Secondly, even in non-military missions it isn't a smart idea to send a married couple as the only two people. It's common sense and I agree with others here if this rule was only just made by Sisko I am not surprised that Star Fleet are falling behind in the dominion war!

    I really wish I could give this episode more but it really bugged me. Even when Kira gave the mission I was raising eyebrows, then when it came to the end I was almost flipping the desk. Just so forced, the writers must think the audience is stupid.

    2/4 stars.

    I liked the lighter parts of this episode. The banter between Worf/Jadzia, and the FX of the runabout navigating the asteroid field.

    However, the fact that the Cardassian defector is such a jerk really stacks the deck. If he had been portrayed as sympathetic or truly scared, maybe Worf's choice would've seemed harder or carried more weight. But because he's so rude, dry, and stand-offish when talking to Worf and Dax, it doesn't make us feel sorry for his fate.

    Probably the cleverest part of this episode is how the tongo plot works up to something quite touching between Bashir and Quark on missed opportunities. The two - not one, but two! - jungle walking montages show the less clever, time filling side of the main story.

    There's some really good dialogue in here, and a fairly daft plot, and in all honesty you have to wonder whether Worf's decision is not just a bit out of character. Of course, it's a contrivance to even get to that point in the first place.

    The asteroid field FX is indeed outstanding, as is the make-up department's work on Dax. 2.5 stars.

    It's funny -- I mostly buy that Worf would choose Jadzia's life over rescuing an informant, even given the stakes. But I kind of wish Worf would *feel worse* about it. Which I guess goes to show my own emotional biases -- like if you feel bad enough and tormented enough about a decision, it makes up for it having negative consequences -- which I know is not actually true.

    Upfront: I don't think it's reasonable to expect people to sacrifice family members and loved ones for The Greater Good in general. Besides the general Kantian vs. utilitarian arguments, it's simply a very difficult sacrifice for people to do. However, it's a different story if they are both officers, as they are here, whose duty is pretty clearly laid out. Dax and Worf both joined Starfleet willingly, knowing the risks; they were not conscripted. They even had the choice of whether or not to take on the mission to rescue the informant -- so that they could have said "No -- it is too dangerous, you will have to get out another way." So I think that the expectation is much higher that Worf or Jadzia would be willing to give their lives in a mission of this level of import, provided we believe (as I think we are meant to) that the informant really does have the information he purports to.

    So Worf and Jadzia's duty is to rescue the informant, having said they would, and knowing the cost of his death would be to the Federation (and the Klingon Empire) and their friends in general. Jadzia and Worf presumably are aware of Julian's predictions about the probability of success in the war effort, and much is made *in some episodes* of the devastating emotional toll the war has on everyone. And I have little doubt that Worf would gladly give his own life in the war, especially to save millions. More to the point, Jadzia is absolutely clear that she accepts her own (very probable) death in this mission, and lets Worf/tells Worf to go. She's not like Jake in "Nor the Battle to the Strong," a civilian caught in a deadly situation and finding her resolve failing her; her resolve is *there*, and she is brave and strong as she sends Worf away. She volunteered for Starfleet, she agreed to do this rescue mission (she nodded to Worf when they discussed rescuing him) and she is telling him she recognizes that her death is what is *supposed* to happen here. And so the episode really is set up to suggest that this is sacrifice Worf really is obliged by honour and duty to make -- hence why he initially skulks off, and finally returns; and why he indicates to Sisko that he genuinely felt that he *could not* oppose his own heart, as if he really was attempting to do what he believed his duty was, and failed.

    The real setup for Worf's decision is basically...this episode; really, despite us being told how they're in love, nothing before this episode really provides sufficient reason for Worf to do the dishonourable thing and give up on their mission and let the defector die to save Jadzia. So it's a good thing that the Worf/Jadzia material is generally quite good here. It begins with Worf's delight in Jadzia's tongo playing, even though he doesn't understand the game -- perfect. (As Aine says, this is a great departure from the glowery way he has responded to Jadzia's independence much of the time.) The Jadzia/Worf chemistry is really present in this episode, for maybe the first time since...what, "Soldiers of the Empire"? (Well, there were some moments in "You Are Cordially Invited," but notably they were apart most of the episode.) In fact, the screwball banter the two have is enjoyable, and the two feel natural and easygoing in a way that makes sense of their relationship. That this episode basically has to sell the whole relationship in order to get to that ending is a bit of a mark against the series' portrayal of them up until now, but I think it largely works. I like that much of Worf's material has to do with his guilt about letting his guard down and enjoying himself; that he jokes with Dax at the end of the episode demonstrates that he has, perhaps, moved past the point of believing that he is entirely responsible for what happened to her for letting his guard down, or maybe is a kind of acceptance (I'm not quite sure). Dax's saying "It's been a great couple of months" is actually quite affecting -- I didn't get into it too much this viewing because I was already thinking over and over again about the implications of the choice Worf was going to make, but I think it was fine. There is a sense of lived-in-ness to their scenes together in their quarters and the Runabout. I am not entirely sure that I buy the transformative nature of this relationship and their marriage, the way Worf feels a new ease that he has not had before, but I can see how that would change Worf's perspective on the world if it did happen. That Worf was a very lonely, isolated person before his marriage, somewhat aloof even from people he was particularly close to on the Enterprise like Riker and Troi, who loved K'Ehleyr deeply but had very little time to live with her, makes some sense of the fact that I can imagine Worf feeling he cannot live without Jadzia. So I'm not sure about it, but it does sort of work for me.

    That Worf was somewhat taken aback by his inability to let go of Jadzia works for me, as does the fact that he didn't. And while I do wish that Worf felt worse, I recognize that it also makes sense for Worf simply to feel transformed by the epiphany that Jadzia's life means more to him than anything else, and in the moment has no doubts about his decision. Still, other aspects of the ending strike me as *wrong*. The emphasis on Worf's *career* is wrongheaded -- Worf has hurt his career for what he believes is right again and again, and even was willing to give up his commission for no real reason in "TWotW," so yeah, no, to hell with that. What's aggravating is that *Jadzia* brings it up. That is not the issue -- the fact that they might lose the war and all die or be occupied because of this choice is the issue; the fact that they said they would rescue a man and then gave up partway through is the issue. Worf's statement that he knows Jadzia would do the same for him also really rubs me wrong -- wouldn't Worf actually prefer it if Jadzia let him die to save millions or whatever, even if he did not know if she would? Isn't that more his speed?

    Jadzia's reaction I am mixed about -- partly because I am not sure how to read Terry here, who I agree with Yanks gives maybe her best performance. The thing is, it seems to me that Jadzia should feel on some level that Worf made the wrong choice -- that a large part of her would rather have died and Worf complete the mission, not for Worf's sake but for the quadrant's, which would fit with her duty and her affection for her friends, not to mention the fate of her future lives (as Dax). That this would be complicated by her own genuine desire to live and joy at being alive I have no doubt; and that she is touched that Worf couldn't live without her also makes sense. And...well, it's an interesting case because I think I see some of that ambivalence in the performance, but I'm not sure. In the dialogue, Jadzia doesn't seem to indicate that she's that disappointed at the mission failing except insofar as it hurts Worf's career, which is *very* wrong, but something about the way TF plays it suggests to me almost like she is...trying to figure out how to say what she is thinking about what Worf did, while trying not to scold him for what was, after all, done out of love for her. It's almost like she is protecting Worf. And maybe she is also, on some level, feeling guilty -- as if she is to blame for Worf's decision -- and on some level the issue of "career" is more concrete and easy to discuss (and then dismiss) than the countless lives that may be lost because of this decision of Worf's. Really, Jadzia should be tormented about the loss of life and angry *and* relieved that Worf saved her, and that doesn't quite come across...but I can almost see it, despite that.

    I agree with Ross TW above that it doesn't help the episode much that the Cardassian defector was portrayed as a jerk -- in fact, I think it would have been a nice touch to have the defector be the Cardassian from "Lower Decks" (whom Worf's protege died for). In general, I think that the episode suffers a great deal because the war has been so abstract for so long this season; for Worf's decision to have the weight it deserves, it must be clear how much he is actually sacrificing for his love, and how big a transformation that is. That means no making the Cardassian officer just the worst to make Worf's decision easier. That means showing the impact of wartime on the main characters -- i.e., not having daily life consist of screwball comedy banter and neverending tongo games and holosuite programs. The war really doesn't feel real in episodes like this. Really, it occurs to me that if they were going to do this episode, maybe it should have taken place around something like "Sons and Daughters" instead of the Alexander material -- have Dax on the Rotarran, maybe, and have Worf have to choose between her and, say, his ship, or recovering DS9, or something.

    I guess I will say here that episodes like this actually make "In the Pale Moonlight" (spoilers for that episode) particularly hard for me to contemplate. Worf is unwilling to let Jadzia die on a mission she agreed to, when she knows that she is dying for a good cause and accepts it, and instead chances losing the war -- and Sisko admits that he would do the same thing. Sisko goes all in on a plan to hoodwink an entire people with manufactured evidence to win the war for him and his. I will maybe talk about this more then, but...part of the reason that I find Garak more appealing and sympathetic in "In the Pale Moonlight" than Sisko is that I know that Garak applies the same (dubious) ethical rules to himself and his own people that he does to others -- we know he was willing to die in his own sneak attack in "Broken Link," and he is willing to work against and even kill Cardassians for the sake of what he believes is ultimately in his own people's best interests -- to rid them of the Dominion. I don't agree with Garak's overall ethics, but his utilitarianism is consistent and applies to himself, and when his code breaks down around Tain it's pretty clear that it's a major character flaw, which Garak recognizes and rues in himself. But man, imagine what Sisko does in "ITPM" when his own officers won't even sacrifice in the actual line of the duty they volunteered for. (It is maybe unfair to blame Sisko for what Worf does here, but Sisko indicates sympathy for it and the admission that he would have done the same.)

    The subplot is amiable; I like that we are not really expected to be surprised at Quark's ploy, and that it's established that O'Brien knows what Quark is doing, so that the only real question is whether Bashir is plausibly stupid enough to fall for it, to which I think the answer is clearly "yes." (Medicine, math: he's a genius. Social interaction: well....) To some degree, it bolsters the main plotline by reminding us how AMAZING Jadzia is, which is pretty unnecessary and a bit annoying, but I think the sense of tragedy that Bashir missed his chance with Jadzia years ago is touching, partly because I suspect Bashir still holds his inability to be attractive to Jadzia as some sort of proof of his fundamental lack of worth, even despite being genetically engineered so that he is at (or above) her intellectual level as a scientist. (She still goes for the non-scientific Klingon.)

    I do agree the episode is padded, which is a mark against it. But that doesn't bother me too much; the padding gives a sense of time with these two as a bickering but mostly-functional couple that the episode badly needs. I am torn about the content of the A-plot, partly because I am not entirely sure I believe the depth of the Worf/Dax bond even now (though this is the best portrayal of it, I think), partly because I think that the reactions to Worf's decision focus on the wrong thing, partly because I'm not sure how to interpret Jadzia's tone in the final scene. I think that a guarded 2.5 stars is where I'll land.

    Worf carried her at least 17km back to the runabout. I kept getting distracted by the fact that such a huge loss to the entire quadrant happened because for unexplained reasons worf didn't just carry her to begin with. He's worf, he would have made it.

    Plus even if they couldnt court marshal worf for some contrived reason, they could have demoted clear back to ensign and reassigned him to a garbage freighter somewhere. I really think this episode would have worked better with slightly less at stake. Like info about some vorta technology or the location of a base of something. Locations of all the shape shifters was just too much to balance the contrivances.

    In terms of the Worf/Dax relationship, "Change of Heart" is a very far cry away from the immature, asinine stupidity of "Let He Who Is Without Sin...", isn't it?! We actually get them expressing their love and affection for each other in a show that takes this relationship seriously. Everything they do feels genuine.

    But, of course, the real cruz of the episode is the moral dilemma of whether or not to save Dax or complete the mission. This is exactly why "fraternization" in the military is strictly forbidden. I have to say, while I personally and emotionally love that Worf put his personal responsibility to his wife first, it would have been better if the mission weren't so vitally important. The number, location and doings of every Changeling in the Alpha Quadrant? That is one IMMENSE prize that Worf threw away in order to save Dax. If it had been a smaller prize they could have still had the moral questioning happen - maybe something like what JC said above, the location of a secret base or new technology. As it is, I'm left wondering if Worf did in fact make the right call. And I don't want to think that way about a man sacrificing his career for his spouse. This is one time where making the stakes high was the wrong decision. Though, I do love Sisko's response to Worf's actions. He basically tells him, in no uncertain terms that it was the wrong choice and that he will never allow Worf to make that same mistake again, but he wouldn't have left Jennifer either. Sisko can be such a great commanding officer! :-)

    There's also something like half of a B-plot involving O'Brien and Bashir trying to beat Quark at his own game, because apparently they have nothing better to do. It's enjoyable for what it is, I guess. Though it is rather nice that it comes to an abrupt halt once Dax gets injured. The writers seem to have finally learned the lessons of "Life Support" and "Doctor Bashir, I Presume" - don't have a light-hearted B-plot dragging down an ultra-serious A-plot.

    HOLODECK TOYS - 22 (+1)


    I have the same reservations multiple people have listed about Worf's decision, the very set-up of their situation and Jadzia's reaction to Worf's decision. But AeC's sled comment made me feel better about all of it regardless.

    I am tempted to give this 4 stars. It's a hidden gem, and for some reason I did not see it until just now. Here's why it's a very good episode:

    Terry Farrell's acting is very natural here. I'm used to seeing a performance that's kind of phony or forced. Here she was actually acting. Whether that's because of a good director, or a good story, or the setting itself, or because she tried harder, I don't know. It might have been all of those things.

    The camera work and direction was well done. The music was well done. There was a lot of good suspense here too. I liked it. And the A and B stories both finally decided to get away from Trek's "All worked out in the end" cliche drivel. What Worf did was realistic, and the tougher decision. It was a gutsy move by the writer. In fact, I think the writer deliberately set this up so that the viewer would EXPECT Worf to make the rendezvous point and to see Jadzia saved. But the rug was pulled out from under the audience instead.

    Yeah, I'm gonna give it 4.

    "I can't help but think that it would've been more moving if ****** had **** *at this point in the series, instead of half a season later."

    First fecking comment, a spoiler for half a season away. Idiot.

    I thought that this episode was both sweet and moving, but entirely out of character for the characters. Worf would not have gone back for Dax. Dax would have been furious if he had.

    The banter between Quark and Bashir about Dax was disturbing. Dax had always made clear that she never had any interest in Bashir. His speculation that he would have been happier if he had not let her slip through his fingers is creepy and stalkerish.

    Great comments.

    I agree with Quarkissnyder, I thought it was pretty out of character for Worf to go back for Dax, and then for Dax to just go along with it like that. She would have been furious.

    Ross TW, from what we've seen so far youngish Cardassian officers are generally jerks, it's just the way they are. The way Lasaran behaved was no different from S6 Damar, Seskal or Rusot. For my part I found him quite likeable and was sorry that he died, though not surprised in the least. He may as well have been wearing a red uniform when he showed up on the viewscreen. Am I the only one who thought he was a dead ringer for Damar?

    Ascii, you nailed my feelings on this episode and why it didn't feel right. It would have been great to get closure on Lasaran's death, and the complete disregard that Sisko, Dax and Worf show for his demise at the end of the episode left a bad taste in my mouth. You would think that Worf of all people would honour a promise made in good faith, and that his failure to do so would have weighed heavy on his conscience for awhile.

    Nice foreshadowing of the Cardassian rebellion to come in S7, though.

    @ Vii,

    "I thought it was pretty out of character for Worf to go back for Dax, and then for Dax to just go along with it like that. She would have been furious. "

    Are you talking about the same Trill that was willing to throw her life away in order to rekindle a relationship from a previous host?

    As for Worf, the fact that it's out of character is not a weakness of the episode but rather is it's point. This is not something the old Worf would have done, and we are meant to understand that he's shifted his values as of right now.

    Peter G, you make a good point about how Jadzia had supposedly mellowed Worf, and that this was a focus of the episode. I think my problem with Worf 2.0 is that his change was a bit forced, especially in this episode, where it felt like it had been shoehorned in because they needed to justify his actions. This was a man who had basically abandoned his first love, his brother by birth and his family name for duty and honour. In that context his Klingon values should have told him that he would dishonour her by denying her the chance to die in the line of duty. The fact that she did not do so is indeed the underlying premise of 'Shadows and Symbols.'

    Re your second point, I think it depended on which and how many lives were at stake. Jadzia was usually more cavalier when it was just her life on the line, which was the case in 'Rejoined.' (And that of Lenara Kahn's, but once Lenara had made it clear she couldn't go through with it Jadzia stopped pressing the point.) When it was for a selfless cause, however, Jadzia would have had no hesitation in sacrificing herself so that many others could be saved. In this respect, she was always portrayed as someone who would put the needs of the many before that of her own. The same goes for Worf. The beginning of the episode made it abundantly clear that the Cardassian defector's information would have tipped the war in their favour and saved countless lives. Therefore I find it unbelievable that they technically bought Jadzia's life at the expense of so many others, and showed no regrets whatsoever in doing so.

    For the record though I really enjoyed this episode. The Jadzia/Worf banter was hilarious and so was the snarky, doomed Cardassian. The tongo plot was fun, though I half expected the doctor to win.

    To slightly amend my last post - 'In this respect, she was always portrayed as someone who would gladly put the lives of the many before that of her own.' "Needs" is a bit too broad for the point I was trying to make.

    Never bought the Dax-Worf relationship. It always seemed a bit abusive to me and I never saw what they saw in each other. This episode tried to make it seem like they were a regular couple, but it failed. There is no chemistry. It all seems forced.

    Jadzia's moaning and whining while she was wounded made me wish she'd just die already.

    And Worf's dereliction of duty and dredging up of yet another made-up Klingon tradition/song/tale in defense was idiotic.

    What kind of person whinges about spoilers posted over a decade after a show airs?

    What kind of person makes the decision to go online, searches out a review site for said vintage show, digests the review, then reads the comments, then complains about spoilers, as if it's some kind of massive shock that they took all those steps to expose themselves to spoilers AND GOT SPOILED?!?!

    This episode had so much potential. It even had some actual relationship developing between Worf and Dax (it was still 70% lack of chemisty and cliches, but since they are usually 100% those things, this was much better).

    But Worf wasn't NEARLY taken to task enough for letting his personal biases cost the lives of so many others. He probably won't command a ship any time soon, and Sisko sorta chews him out. That's it? No way. Even Quark never got off quite so ludicrously easy for so much.

    And "from now on, no married couples on the same mission alone". Made no sense this hadn't been a rule long before this.

    2 stars. I just could never care about Worf with Dax so this ep didn't nothing for me. I was far more interested on what Dominion secrets the defector had but that went nowhere

    The b plot is more of the filler I don't like about DS9

    It just seemed out of character for Worf to abandon his duty to save one life when doing so meant that millions of billions would die. It's the whole thing about one named character mattering more than a million nameless redshirts. If you're not willing to accept the risk, don't accept the mission. Perhaps they couldn't court martial him, but he probably should have been asked for his resignation.

    Hello Everyone

    Yeah, I'll say it, I was surprised the first comment spoiler was allowed to remain. Yes, I've seen the series before and know what comes later, but there have been instances (Galactica comes to mind) where a spoiler is removed or blacked out, and a comment is placed to please only talk about this episode, and not anything that happens later.

    All that being said (since the cat is out of the bag), it struck me that since she did know she was leaving, perhaps her acting had a bit more emotion to it as she was realizing the end was near, and as she was saying goodbye to Worf, she was able to put some of that in her performance. I really thought her pain and anguish were very nicely done.

    Boy, there was one thing that just really bothered me though, first-run and now, and it is something @JC touched on: He carried her 17 klicks back to the ship, but didn't originally think to put her on his back and carry her 23? They were only 3 away. Carry her there, find the spy, run back out. We could have even had some exchanges where the Cardassian tells him to leave her, and Worf could tell him that if she dies so does he. I know the point they were trying to make, but darned if it just didn't seem... wrong. Yes, we were surprised (woo-hoo?), but the reason we were surprised is because we all know Worf, know what he is about and have a reasonable expectation about his actions. Pulling a rabbit out of a hat just so there can be a 'gotcha' moment was a dis-service to him, in my humble opinion.

    No-one seems to be on the fence with this one, you either agree or disagree with his decision. I am in the disagree camp.

    Regards... RT

    P.S.: About them serving together. I agree they should not be on missions like this as a team, but saying they should not be at the same posting seems a bit silly, since we've seen whole families on Starships for a few years now (which was probably a mistake). Sisko did have to be pulled away from his dead wife once, as I recall. Since Starfleet lets couples serve together, I'd bet they'd get this type of situation more often than we hear about.

    Rewatching this series for the, what, 10th, time? This episode bothers me so much that I had to find somewhere to post :p

    It is inconceivable that Starfleet, knowing full well about the Jem-Hadar anti-coagulant beam, would leave such medical counteragents out of the medkits. It just isn't possible. This oversight ruins the entire episode, and leaves a bad taste about the whole series.

    Additionally and finally, I am so sick of the filler and meaningless crap that takes up entire episodes.

    I haven't watched Discovery yet, but I hope it doesn't suffer from the familiar ST pitfalls.

    For the first time in a long while i can agree with the review. A long, boring walk in the forest, some nice parts and a strong ending. 2 or 2.5 stars seems right.

    I adored this episode, I felt like both characters were much more interesting then before. I found it romantic as hell. I almost skipped it entirely, but I was bored and thought I'd give it a shot... I was moved to tears by the ending.

    Way too much fluff in this episode but it we certainly get plenty of Worf/Jadzia as a couple and especially Worf putting his wife before duty and that he'd do it again knowing the consequences is what is really accomplished here. So it's a good character episode for Worf & Jadzia but I found it dragged with all the fluff and I still find their relationship unnatural (mostly because of Worf). I'm not a fan of Farrell's acting overall but she does better when it comes to relationship-type stuff like here.

    There's the MacGuffin of whatever intelligence the Cardassian had that could save millions of lives. What could it possibly have been?? So the overall Dominion war arc doesn't really develop.

    The B-plot was just silliness with the tongo game and O'Brien wanting a challenge. What was eerily interesting is how Quark was going on about Dax was the last chance of happiness for him & Bashir because she's now married -- and it turns out she was dying.

    Anyhow, plenty of Worf/Dax relationship stuff here -- most of it belongs in a romantic comedy and most of it was tiresome for me as there isn't a lot of chemistry between these 2. Again, Trek rarely gets romances right but at least somewhat of a base was developed here for Worf/Jadzia beyond snarky one-liners.

    It's interesting how tough Sisko is on Worf -- in Star Fleet duty comes first. Seems like Sisko bends the rules slightly for others now and then. Really have to question why Worf/Jadzia went on the mission together with nobody else in the first place. Why not O'Brien given that Keiko is away for 6 months? Probably because we just had an O'Brien episode "Honor Among Thieves".

    2 stars for "Change of Heart" -- really not much here, a MacGuffin, some contrivances (walking for 2 days in the jungle, Worf/Jadzia together alone) but ultimately we get an important understanding of Worf's love for Jadzia but had to sit through a lot of fluff to get there.

    @ Rahul,

    "It's interesting how tough Sisko is on Worf -- in Star Fleet duty comes first. Seems like Sisko bends the rules slightly for others now and then."

    This is an interesting issue. I think that in the case of others on DS9 Sisko cared mostly about principle and wasn't going to always harangue them about doing something moral if it went against strict orders. But Worf is a special case, and we get a clue as to why in Sisko's dressing him down. Worf is told that he will probably not make Captain as a result of this, and that speaks volumes to me. No one else on DS9 was likely ever going to achieve a command position. Julian is medical, Jadzia science, and the other crew members aren't even in Starfleet. So for all of them it's a matter of teamwork and discipline but there's no career concern there. In Worf's case Sisko may have been grooming him for command, and now this ruined it, which would indeed be a great shame. Imagine a Picard never making Captain because of one decision to save someone. One can praise the act, but then what of the lost potential in that person as a future leader? So maybe Sisko is super-tough on Worf for this reason.

    @ Peter G.,

    I think Sisko was particularly tough on Worf also because of the intel from the Cardassian that could have potentially saved millions of lives so the consequences were more serious than say letting Kira run off to Bajor against just the principle. But Sisko was also more strict about going by the book here.

    Interesting that even if Worf had gotten to the rendez-vous point and waited for the Cardassian (Jadzia would have died) but it would have been in vain anyway as the Cardassian was killed. But of course that's not really the point.

    As for command potential, I was thinking Jadzia might be moving in that direction -- she commanded the Defiant in "Favor the Bold" while Sisko had to sit and worry. So it shouldn't be a stretch for her to migrate beyond Science.

    But yes, Worf not being able to make command because his wife works with him and he abandoned his duty briefly because of her -- by the book, it's harsh -- especially if the 2 can be separated from working with each other on difficult missions going forward.

    @ Peter G.,

    One correction to my last message -- "Behind the Lines" is what I meant to refer to when Jadzia successfully took command on a supposedly difficult mission.

    @Rahul, Peter G.

    I was also going to bring up that Sisko never rode Dax very hard when she disobeyed orders, yet she seemed to be on a command track as a science officer, kind of like Spock. The explanation might be pretty simple, though. Since Sisko made the command appointment for Worf, he probably feels responsible for Worf’s mistakes and feels like he needs to nail him down lest Starfleet come in and nail Sisko for the situation.


    The Cardassian was killed trying to re-enter the base after Starfleet no showed and mosssed the extraction. If Worf had made the extraction point, he would have survived.

    Watching and commenting:

    --Jadzia playing Tongo. Jadzia and Worf going through their nighttime routine.

    --SF Operative in Cardassia needs J & W to rendezvous with him. So off they go.

    --J&W trying to decide on a honeymoon. Silly sniping.

    -- O'Brien wants to beat Quark at Tongo.

    --J&W meet with the Cardassian operative, Lasaran. This name reminds me medicine I used to take.

    --Julian playing Tongo with O'Brien. The accents, between O'Brien and Bashir, make me grateful for the subtitles.

    --J&W picking up Lasaran on a remote planet. I used to pick up Lasaran at CVS.

    --Lots of comments about what's funny and what's not. Also, lots of talk of pain.

    --Julian loses at Tongo because Quark gets him pining over Jadzia? Eh, Ok.

    --J&W run into one of Paris and Janeway's babies in the jungle. What a coincidence!

    --The Jem Hadar. YIKES. Jadzia not doing so well. I mean, she really looks bad.

    --Julian can't win at Tongo because of his feelings for Jadzia. Worf has to win at his mission despite his feelings for Jadzia. When you can indulge yourself (like with room service!), and when you can't.

    --Worf saves Jadzia. A sweet ending.

    Sorta tedious, but the ending is nice. Average ep.

    agreed the script had some filler, but episode is really elevated by Terry Falwells acting. Yikes she really looked sick it was downright upsetting.

    Also good to see some scenes with Work and Dax that felt natural and mostly believable. Could have done with slightly less bickering, but thats a minor quibble.

    I'm a bit torn about this episode.

    There are some good aspects to it; it's one of the few times when the relationship between Worf and Dax doesn't feel forced, and his decision to save her is believable. It's also a reversal of sorts to the choice Worf found himself forced to make a few episodes earlier in Waltz, when he had to choose between searching for Sisko and protecting a convoy transporting thousands of Federation soldiers.

    But at the same time: once more, Star Trek weapons are highly variable in their effects. This time, the Jem Hadar have their weapons set to "anti coagulant" rather than the more traditional "turn the enemy into a conveniently bloodless pile of dust" setting.

    (And just how does an energy weapon have anti-coagulant properties? Lasers and plasma cauterise wounds...)

    And it's a good job the Jem Hadar don't carry communicators, and that they don't report back to headquarters when encountering enemies. And it's equally good that they don't bother keeping track of their troops - after all, they can just grow new ones!

    Then too, why does Dax insist on continuing with Worf? The sensible thing would have for her to either return to the ship or (if not possible) hold up somewhere and avoid any exertion to help minimise the blood loss.

    So yeah. An interesting moral dilemma, but overly contrived for my tastes...

    This episode was fairly well done, 2.5 stars about fits. I, like previous posters, feel the major drawback was setting a plot where a husband and wife were sent alone on a mission. Dumb. I also didn’t like the absences of a coagulation compound in the end kit, or when Jadzia says “our tricorders are useless now” but then they’re using their tricorders later.

    But the stuff between Jadzia and Worf (Jarf? Wordzia?) is genuinely good. I like the evolution of Worf, and I don’t even think his marriage is the catalyst for his better disposition. I honestly feel his ability to be a man of war and actually fight and kill and launch an actual torpedo without Picard telling him “no”, he gets to understand what it’s like to truly be a Klingon, and thus frees him up to laugh, fall in love, and be himself. In short, killing Jem’Hadar is way better for the Klingon psyche than skull-faced hologram calisthenics.

    I have never bought the Worf/Dax match, zero chemistry!

    Why didn’t he just pick her up and carry her the rest of the way? They had just 3 kilometers to go?

    Was shocked that he left her, even if he did change his mind!

    Good episode, it could have been stupid but Moore is a very skilled writer. I thought this was a great opportunity for Dorn and it shows how much he enjoyed playing Worf. As for Dax... I've said it before, but I don't find her to be a credible character. She may have the memories of six lifetimes but she always plays the innocent girl routine - calling everyone by their first name, breaking a lot of rules without repercussions, casual sexism. An absence of accountability - she knows Sisko will baby her. She doesn't strike me as a futuristic female the way Major Kira certainly does. She definitely doesn't seem to earn the moniker of "old man." She just seems along for the ride. I don't find her body or personality attractive, but I guess that's why she's tolerated. That said, Farrell did a great job playing Worf's damsel. And it was a mistake to not end her story here - although Captain Sisko keeping it real at the end was very well done.

    I thought it was a real letdown that O'Brien did not play like an engineer and fix that table so he'd beat Quark (hell, the table was probably rigged in the first place).

    This also reminds me that we have another episode without Odo. He seems to have faded in the background for much of the non-Dominion episodes and it's a real shame. I always thought Worf usurped Odo's place in the ensemble (and despite being command now, Worf is still default security much of the time). As others have mentioned, Odo would have been a much better choice to accompany Worf.

    At the start of the episode it didn't seem clear that this was going to be such an involved mission. It sounded like they were just going to receive a message and head back. If all the details (jungle, etc.) were known ahead of time I do not believe Dax would have been chosen for it.


    Agreed. Physically speaking, Worf probably could have carried her from the time they landed without much trouble.

    All bickering Trekkie plot holes aside, the episode made me cry and forced me to confront the decisions I would make for the person I care most about. It’s emotional manipulation and for that reason alone it’s a success.

    To think that Worf cost millions of lives and didn't get more heat thrown at him! This episode is just wrong.

    I'm with Mike: zero chemistry between Worf and Jax. I never "got" it. All the lovey-dovey romantic sweet nothings a third of the episode showed them heaping on each other were cringe more than anything else. That, incidentally, is this episode's biggest problem, and it's a MASSIVE problem. Another, more plausible, couple experiencing the events depicted would easily have elicited sympathy; I think many of us would have downright teared up. With these two though, it simply didn't work. I was rolling my eyes and wishing them to speed it up and get to the good part already (i.e. ANYTHING but the two of them), rather than getting choked up. Pity, because it IS a very powerful and moving plot.

    Then: A Jemmy patrol. On foot. In the middle of a jungle. 🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️ Didn't they ever hear of, oh I dunno, drones? With some infrared or thermal-imaging cameras, peradventure?

    Or: Phaser rifles that glisten in the moonlight like tinsel. Yeah, phenomenal design 🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️

    Worf rushing through the foliage and arriving at a waypoint, with audible heart pounding: very nicely done.

    Worf getting a bit of dressing down for fouling up the mission and costing millions of lives: p-a-t-h-e-t-i-c-a-l-l-y done. "I had to follow my heart, sir!" "Oh, that's okay, then. I'd have done the same. Carry on." Jesus H., man... But, then, precedent had been set by that idiot Dodo who chose to do a spot of nookie rather than disengage the security system, enabling the Cardies and Jemmies to destroy that minefield. What did he get? A pat on the back.

    Are Worf and Jax now going to be at least separated and never allowed to undertake a mission ensemble? Nope, not EVEN that; they merely won't be on a mission alone, just the two of them. Bismillah... Words fail.

    Two stars? A star and a half? I don't know. I don't care.

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