The Way of the WarriorBy Michelle Erica Green
Posted at January 12, 2004 - 11:13 PM GMT
See Also: 'The Way of the Warrior' Episode Guide
As Worf arrives on temporary assignment to Deep Space Nine, the Klingons and Starfleet come into conflict, both on the station and on a galactic scale. When the Klingon Empire breaks its peace treaty with the Federation, Worf must decide where his loyalties lie.
I have very, very mixed feeling about this, uh, episode? Movie? In many ways it exceeded my expectations, didn't do some of the annoying things I thought it might, and did do a lot of really lovely character stuff I hadn't dared hope for. On the other hand, it brought a lot of my worst fears about Worf on DS9 home.
As Trek epics go, this is one of the best; a huge improvement plotwise on "Encounter At Farpoint" and "Emissary," more consistent than the DS9 three-part season two opener even if the character work wasn't as solid, vastly better than Generations, right up there with "Menagerie." Sustained conflict that has nothing to do with spatial anomalies or anything science-fiction-related has merit; I wish it weren't the Klingons whom the conflict was with, but I found it refreshing to see two hours of show with NO technobabble. I laughed a lot, but I also yelled a lot.
I had mixed feeling right from the new, improved opening credits, cluttered with new ships and new names and new jazzed-up music. I thought DS9 stagnated a lot of last season, and I'm NOT one of the people who thinks the Defiant is the worst idea ever; I just think it needs to be used judiciously. So seeing it once would have been nice; seeing it all over the place was frustrating as hell. Can't the producers compromise?
I love that this drama has two female commanders and two black male leaders who are neither cops nor drug dealers; if only the producers would stop pandering to their theoretical young white male audience and acknowledge the diversity of their viewership, they'd have the most balanced, open-minded, fulfilling show on TV. But of course, because of the fantasy target audience, the episode got cluttered with things like Kira and Dax in embarrassing outfits and Sisko and Worf kicking ass with bat'leths. How did those Klingons conquer Cardassia without some good disruptor pistols?
Even the characters who often annoy me did some terrific stuff. Quark had me in stitches, first explaining to Odo that everyone on his Ferengi ship thought he was a good critic, then hearing Odo read the note about how Rom had "borrowed" his disruptor, a beautiful scene for both, just this side of over-the-top. Ditto the scene with Dax and Worf in the holosuite: the transition from Klingon posturing to actual fighting -- to Dax revealing that entire charade was ploy to pick Worf's brain -- worked seamlessly, and my dread about seeing Dax do the Klingon thing again faded fast. Bashir and Odo had that hilarious exchange about how Odo could become a subject for a Klingon opera, and Dukat as the subject of a Sisko-Dax bet offered some welcome comic relief just when the Klingon battle garbage was starting to get on my nerves.
I did think Sisko and Worf spent too much time together having a scowling contest--Sisko's winning both that and the gravely voice competition so far, but the season is young--and Sisko's scenes with Yates were alternately touching and creepy: I was positive she was going to turn out to be a shapeshifter, what with all the Dominion talk at the beginning and the fact that we never see her eat or drink and the aborted search of her vessel. I sure hope they keep us guessing on that one for a LONG time! Kira, regrettably, had the least to do and the fewest memorable moments; she didn't get any interesting lines other than the obvious one about how strange she felt saving Cardassia, and while I like that idea of her and O'Brien in charge of the station while the kids were away, we didn't get to see them interact nearly enough; for once I wished she WAS on the Defiant, as he strategic knowledge surely could have been put to use there!
Oh, but strategy is what Worf's supposed to be for, yes? I have nothing bad to say about Worf at the moment, but every time the word "honor" came up I got a sinking feeling in my gut. I loved the TNG Klingon episodes when they first aired but I haven't been able to watch a single one in rerun; too many cliches, too much of the same ranting about loyalty and family and duty. Worf coming in as an outsider made me realize just how much of a family the ensemble of DS9 has become, but I can't see how he's going to fit there permanently.
We barely saw Kira, Bashir, O'Brien or Quark despite the two-hour stretch of the episodes, except as necessary bodies in scenes; we only got to see Dax in her Curzon-Klingon persona. They did do a nice job getting some of my favorite regulars on--Garak, Dukat, Morn--but really feel like the cast is getting thinned as it grows; if all these people get one episode per season to shine, its going to be a LONG draught between great moments for Kira or anyone else.
Things to look forward to this season: Story arcs. Battle stations--not every week, mind you , but seeing the station turn into the Death Star did have a certain interest. Sustained conflict with more than one enemy, meaning paranoia and tension will be better sustained. I love the wild card of the Dominion hanging over everything, and I did find that I missed the Klingons, at least until Gowron started talking too much with his eyes bugging out. And the hairdos or lack thereof are all improvements for the better.
Michelle Erica Green reviews 'Enterprise' episodes for the Trek Nation, for which she is also a news writer. An archive of her work can be found at The Little Review.