the story: Worf and Dax marry, with a few hurdles.
what it's all about: Amazingly, through six TV shows and thirteen movies, "You Are Cordially Invited..." is the only story in the whole Star Trek franchise where two main characters get married, where that is the sole focus (Tom Paris and B'Elanna Torres get a quickie in Voyager's "Drive"). The next closest example is the marriage of Miles and Keiko O'Brien in Next Generation's "Data's Day," but that was years before O'Brien was a regular in Deep Space Nine and besides, as the title implies, it was more about Data than anything.
So this one's a milestone. It's also the first episode of the series since the penultimate one from the fifth season to take a break from the Dominion War, including the first six of the sixth season. And it's a good excuse for a change of pace, as good an excuse as there ever was, obviously, as indicated above, another example of how importance the lives of the characters in the series were.
It's also a Klingon episode, sort of like "Amok Time" if everything (eventually) works out. In terms of further fleshing out Klingon society, what it would be like to live it every day and not just as a warrior, "Invited" is a great episode on that score alone.
But it also gives Worf and Dax, especially Dax, a wonderful spotlight, after a few seasons of courtship that was fortuitous for both of them, Worf in terms of integration into the series and Dax in finally doing something with the Klingon connection that'd been there from the very beginning but until Worf had been relegated to one standout episode ("Blood Oath") but otherwise mostly ignored.
It's really a Dax episode. Jadzia Dax would be dead by the end of the season (spoiler alert?), so this was kind of the last opportunity to revisit and explore in depth what made her tick. Surprisingly or not, she finds that being familiar with Klingons and actively trying to join one of their families are two different things. The whole experience is a reminder of what helped make her stand out to begin with (especially in appearances like "Playing God"), as something other than a pretty face, a strong personal drive that was just as apt to get Dax in trouble as lead to another of her epic memories (it would probably be safe to argue that it would be very tough to find a Trill who enjoyed being joined more than Jadzia Dax).
It's also a fun chance to see Martok relax a little, the first real chance he's had since returning from a Dominion labor camp last season and struggling to reintegrate himself back to his old life. Which is to say, this is a rare chance to just hang out with the guy, as if he were just another member of the large station family, and not a Klingon who only appears when there's a fight brewing somewhere (admittedly frequent enough during a war).
- franchise - Klingons! You can't be a Star Trek fan and not love them.
- series - A big moment for two series regulars.
- character - That would be Worf and Dax, in case you forgot.
- essential - A truly unique moment in Star Trek lore.
J.G. Hertzler (Martok)
Marc Worden (Alexander)
Chase Masterson (Leeta)
Aron Eisenberg (Nog)
Max Grodenchik (Rom)