Thursday, October 27, 2016

Deep Space Nine 2x19 "Blood Oath"

rating: ****

the story: Dax reunites with three legendary Klingons for one last glorious adventure.

what it's all about: Anyone who ever questioned Deep Space Nine's place in the greater franchise needs to have a look at "Blood Oath."  Forget the whole Dominion War.  Forget the heavy serialization.  Forget the seeming departures from Star Trek's ideals.  Forget all of that.  "Blood Oath" may be the single greatest access point any fan could hope for, the most unlikely, and at the very least the best episode of the second season.

"Playing God" was just the warm-up...Dax's evolution from "just a pretty face" to one of the best characters in the series was completed with "Blood Oath," in which three actors who had portrayed Klingons in the original series reprise their roles: William Campbell as Koloth ("The Trouble with Tribbles"), Michael Ansara as Kang ("Day of the Dove"), and John Colicos as Kor ("Errand of Mercy").  Ansara would actually appear once more as Kang in Voyager's "Flashback," while Colicos' Kor would return in Deep Space Nine's own "Sword of Kahless" and "Once More Unto the Breach," but "Blood Oath" is the one chance to see all three at once, a dream team of Klingons if there ever was one (Worf and Martok would both join Kor in his final appearance, in case you wanted another dream team).

When fans think of episodes featuring characters from other series, they typically bring up Next Generation's "Sarek," "Unification," and "Relics" as the best examples, a trilogy that is pretty tough to compete with, but where "Blood Oath" triumphs over them is telling a completely unexpected story, one where the Klingons, each of them originally presented as villains by the way, as the heroes, the transformation Worf helped initiate finally completed, well before Deep Space Nine had actually begun heavily featuring the classic aliens (with the addition of Worf in the fourth season).

"Blood Oath" is unlike any other episode in the franchise, a full Klingon romp, following Klingon ideals.  And in the center of it?  Dax.  The least likely character possible, right?  Remember that Dax is actually a Trill, a joined species, and that Jadzia was the latest host, and that the previous one, Curzon, had been a Federation ambassador to the Klingons (how Sisko met Dax).  If we never really got to meet Curzon, "Blood Oath" more than adequately presents how Jadzia was able to follow in his footsteps, embrace his legacy, and yes, make it possible for that later romance with Worf to happen.

It's a completely magical experience.  After the early series attempts at bringing in familiar Next Generation characters, many fans probably never even dreamed such a thing was possible.  This is exactly how Deep Space Nine fully came into its own.

criteria analysis:
  • franchise - An update of original series Klingons?  Heck ya!
  • series - A killer way to represent the difference between Deep Space Nine and the rest of the franchise.
  • character - All those Klingons, and Dax.
  • essential - It's positively irresistible. 
notable guest-stars:
William Campbell (Koloth)
Michael Ansara (Kang)
John Colicos (Kor)

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