Mar 21, 2018
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine “Let He Who Is Without Sin...” (part 7 of 7)
Cut to another random interior on Risa. Bashir and Quark and Dax are reclining together. Bashir says he understands how Worf feels, because Dax is so hard to figure out, what with the many centuries of gender-swapping and everything. Then Quark and Bashir talk for a moment or two about how this is kind of totally hot, and then Dax gets angry that they’re “talking about [her] like [she’s] not here,” even though they only said maybe one or two sentences about her in the third person just now.
So Bashir turns to her and is like, okay, “you’re too much work”, and I do not doubt for a second that Jadzia Dax is one high-maintenance woman. And right here and now, just for you, a list of all the women on Deep Space Nine, in order of highest maintenance to lowest maintenance: Kira Nerys, Jadzia Dax, Leeta, Tora Ziyal, Keiko O’Brien. I put Kira at the top because of all that ex-terrorist freedom fighter religious passion, I mean, I think you have to be a priest before she’ll even talk to you. And I put Keiko O’Brien last because she’s just an all-around cool chick in every possible way. And yes, at this rate, you can expect my first Voyager recap in late 2017.
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Quark takes this opportunity to crudely come onto Dax, but she says she’ll stick with Worf. Bashir finally voices the question on everyone’s minds: “Why?” Dax replies that he has—and please try to suppress your gag reflex for the next few seconds—”the courage of a berserker cat, and he has the heart of a poet!” You know who doesn’t have the heart of poet? Dax, for spouting all that crap just now. Vanessa Williams enters and saves us from this tedium, saying that the staff hasn’t been able to find Worf, but she’s sure he’ll turn up.
Quark says that in the meantime, he’d like to “take some floaters up to the hills and go skinny-dipping in the hot springs!” I guess we’re supposed to be repulsed by the idea of Quark skinny-dipping, but no image involving Quark is ever going to bother me again after seeing him in drag. And I hate to keep bringing up “Profit and Lace”, but damn, that episode traumatized me. As much disdain as I have for Voyager and Enterprise, that could quite possibly be the worst hour of Star Trek ever produced. I mean, besides “Cost of Living”, of course. But it’s a very close second.
“I never thought I’d say this,” Bashir volunteers of his own free will, “but I’m with Quark!” I never thought he’d say that, either. Actually, I never thought anyone would admit to wanting to skinny-dip with Quark. Wait, are we sure that Bashir hasn’t already been replaced by that changeling?
Before we can travel much farther down this uncomfortable road, there’s a simultaneous flash of lightning and sound of thunder from outside. Vanessa Williams intuits there’s something wrong with the weather grid, and a shot of Sharper Image City reveals that it’s now raining on Risa. But knowing Risa, I find it more than likely that it’s raining men. All of this water, by the way, has done absolutely nothing to stimulate that waterfall into actually falling, but I guess that’s to be expected.
Cut to all the vacationers huddled up in blankets in the random Risa interior. Vanessa Williams announces to them that they’ll repair the malfunctioning weather grid soon. But Pascal Fullerton and his Bolian flunky instantly appear and he says, “No, you won’t!” Just as everyone is about to pin this mild calamity on Fullerton, Worf enters with a blinking garage door opener and tells the crowd that he’s the one who deactivated the weather grid. Not only that, it’ll take three to four days to repair it. And until then, it’s rain, rain, and lots of it. Yes, a Starfleet officer has taken it upon himself to disrupt the weather on a Federation colony. And it’s solely because he got pissed at seeing his girlfriend with Vanessa Williams. It all flows so naturally and believably, doesn’t it?
Fullerton repeats his blustery, nonsensical tirade against the falseness of Risa, and declares that the Federation will now have to “get back to the essentials!” Oh, I get it! And then he and his group just walk out. Hey man, the Risians won’t prosecute, dude. Even if you destroy their planet for a few days or so. Hey brothers, no more war! And then all the guests wander off too, instead of doing what they should be doing, which is allowing mob mentality to take hold and inexorably lead them to tear Worf’s limbs from his torso. But he doesn’t get off completely, because the DS9-ites gang up and scold Worf—bad Worf!—but he comes back with this sound argument.
|Worf: If Federation citizens cannot handle a little bad weather, how will they handle a Dominion invasion?|
Hmm, let’s see… hard rain and lightning… invasion by jack-booted killing machines… Yep, I can see how they’re pretty much interchangeable. I mean, if you can’t handle an ingrown toenail, how can you handle total thermonuclear annihilation? You pussy! We cut to another exterior view of Sharper Image City, and lightning flashes and torrents of rain fall.
More skanks rush inside for cover, including Quark, the biggest skank of them all, who complains to Dax that it’s not even this rainy on Ferenginar, “and we have 178 different words for rain!” Apparently, it’s “glemmening” outside right now. Actually, the captions say “glebbining”, but it sounds more like “glemmening” to me. Which, like most dialogue in this episode, doesn’t matter worth a damn, so moving on.
Dax, who’s just hanging out in the Random Risa Interior for no reason, basically tells Quark to go get laid, but he says that’s difficult, because everyone is depressed about the rain. Vanessa Williams comes over and invites them to play a game of Risa’s national pastime, hoverball. Quark says, “Indoor hoverball? That’s just wrong!” And he knows from wrong, believe me.
Vanessa sits and says the guests are now complaining about everything, and not just the rain. Ah, the taxing burdens of a chief facilitator. Quark sympathizes, what with his own background in the service industry, and says it’s because humidity makes food mushy. As proof, he cites the fact that there’s no word for “crisp” in Ferengi. I’ve also heard there’s no word for “funny” in Ferengi, which would explain a lot.
Cut to Worf having another powwow with Fullerton and his group. It turns out a large number of guests have left, and Worf is sure that the remaining guests are quietly sitting in their rooms and thinking hard about Fullerton’s message. I’ll bet. Maybe they would be, if you had made sure to take away their X-Boxes, too, dummy. Worf bids them adieu, saying he’s had his fill of Risa. Amen to that.
Once he’s gone, Fullerton says the weather grid will be back to normal tomorrow, “and no one here will remember this ever happened!” Double amen, plus infinity to that. But the Bolian still has Worf’s garage door opener, and Fullerton says he has even more eviler plans in mind. He starts tapping on the garage door opener, and fade to commercial. Can your heart take the suspense?
Fade in on another Random Risa Interior. Dax yells at Worf for ruining the vacations of thousands of people, but Worf believes that all of this just proves his point. Dax acutely nails it (once again) when she says he’s not doing this because of the Essentialists or Risa or the Federation, but because he’s a self-centered asshole. Not in so many words, I guess, but that’s what she’s getting at. She says that the root of all this is Worf’s jealousy over her and Vanessa Williams. And then Worf loses whatever small sliver of credibility he had left when he basically admits that, yeah, that’s why he did it.
Then it’s on to Banal Couple Argument #654D, really just an addendum to a previous argument, where Worf again reiterates that a Klingon woman wouldn’t do the things Dax has been doing. Yeah, I know. A Klingon woman would never take this much crap from him. Dax yells back that Worf wouldn’t know: “Curzon spent more time with Klingons than you ever did!” And that’s kind of below the belt, but boy, does he deserve it. Dax tells him he’s not like any Klingon she ever met, punctuated by a loud, dramatic flash of lightning.
Dax finally demands to know why Worf has no passion, no exuberance, no joie de vivre, and is always holding himself back. Worf says that’s not the issue here, but Dax thinks it is. There’s another dramatic flash of lightning, which I guess means she’s absolutely right?
And so, gather round, kids, because it’s story time with Mr. Worf. He starts off by explaining how he was raised by humans on a farm world where everyone knew everyone else, and at first he had a bad rep for being the wild, uncontrollable Klingon kid. That all changed when he was 13, and playing soccer, and during this one match, he and a human kid jumped up together to head off a kick. Apparently, Worf accidentally head butted the kid, and ended up breaking his neck. “And… he died the next day.” Dramatic flash of lightning.
So that was the moment where Worf got all uptight, and realized that to live with humans, he had to “practice restraint,” and that’s the origin of the Uptight Worf we know today. And you know, I’m not totally against the idea that a specific incident made him into the anal retentive freak he is here. Heaven knows that if you accidentally killed someone when you were 13, it would have a profound impact on who you are and how you lived your life from that day forward. (Ignoring, for a moment, that Worf’s rep on the Enterprise in the early TNG days was pretty much as the “wild, uncontrollable” Klingon.)
But what I’m totally against is this “meaningful” speech being plunked down at the end of one of the most inconsequential episodes of DS9 ever filmed. It’s like the writers said, “Oh no, we’ve got a real floater of an episode on our hands here,” and in a panic, pulled this deeply traumatic event out of their asses in order to redeem this completely irredeemable episode. If this speech had appeared in a better episode, it would have been touching, possibly, or even heartbreaking. But here, you can almost hear the churning gears and pulleys of Dramatic Screenwriting 101 trying to give us a good, worthwhile ending to this episode, and hoping we’ll forget everything that led up to it. It all rings completely false, even falser than Leeta and Bashir’s stupid “Rite of Separation”, and I’m thrilled to say none of these events or Worf’s little story will ever get referenced again for the rest of the series.
And really, when you think about it, why does there need to be a deep, dark “reason” why Worf is so uptight? Why can’t that just be the way he is?
Anyway. Dax is all heartfelt and “I feel your pain” and Worf is all “it’s a part of who I am”, and thanks, but we got that. “That explains a lot,” Dax says, and we already got that, too. The music turns sappy, and by sheer coincidence (I’m sure), all the scary dramatic flashes of lightning have completely stopped. Dax says that instead of trying to control her, Worf should try to trust her. She says she would never do anything to hurt him, and he says he would never do anything to hurt her. Besides, you know, breaking her bones during intercourse.
But this tender moment, tender moment, blah blah blah is interrupted when ruh-roh! Another attempt to shoehorn excitement into this episode hits, and the whole planet shakes. Dax says, “That felt like an earthquake!” (Though, technically, wouldn’t it be a “Risa-quake”?) Worf immediately deduces it’s the work of the New Essentialists. He realizes they must be using the little destructive gizmo that Worf just happened to leave behind in their hands. Good work, Worf. Tell us again about how we’re not prepared for a Dominion attack?
Cut to a gloating Fullerton, telling his Bolian lackey to “increase the feedback in the tectonic stress regulators!” But Ol’ Blue Head refuses to set the dials to eleven, because it would destroy all buildings on this part of the planet. Fullerton takes the device away, but Worf and Dax enter, and Worf demands the garage door opener back. Dax then threatens Fullerton, so he… hands the device over. Wow, he was quite the adversary, wasn’t he? I heard he also gives up on his villainous schemes when you say “pretty please”.
Worf immediately shuts down the Risa-quakes. He and Dax start to leave, but Fullerton attempts to play the “overindulgence, lack of self-control” card, saying again that it will open them up to threats from outside. But Worf is totally over that.
|Worf: You say that we have to return to traditional Federation values. Well, I agree! But one of those values [looks at Dax] is trust.|
Oh, barf. Double barf. Then he says it’s “essential” to remember that. Triple barf.
An angry Fullerton actually smacks Worf, so Worf responds by lifting him up by his collar, tossing him across the room, and growling, “I will do as I please!” Apparently, not too worried about snapping anybody’s neck this evening. Wow, that’s character growth. I mean, I think I’ve actually grown as a human being myself, just from watching this episode. My toenails have grown, anyway. I know this because I’ve been staring at them for the last ten minutes.
Finally, Worf declares, “I am on vacation,” and he and Dax walk out, arm in arm.
Cut to the whole DS9 gang and Vanessa Williams strolling down the beach and everything all sunny and happy again, but unfortunately, they have to leave soon. Vanessa bids a fond farewell to Dax and Worf, but Dax promises she’ll be back. Thankfully, we never had to see that return visit. But looking at Vanessa in this shot, it does seem like it was a little nipply on the beach that day. Wow zee wow wow! She wanders off, and Worf says that for their remaining time here, he and Dax should “watch the suns set.”
| Dax: I have a better idea. Why don’t we go swimming?
Worf: I… didn’t bring a bathing suit.
Dax: [looks around] I won’t tell if you don’t.
And then we see him actually start to undo his uniform. Barf again. Worf has now made me barf four times in the space of two minutes, everybody. So in fact, I have to coin a new word: Borf. Borf is when a Klingon makes you want to hurl. Look for that one in the next edition of Sniglets.
And so the hurting finally comes to a close with a crossfade to a shot of the dual Risian sunset. And the two suns are actually in the same position as Worf and Dax’s heads in the previous shot. Artiste! And thus ends this installment of my self-inflicted Trekkian punishment.
So, what’s the morale of this fiasco? Well, for starters, if a concept was introduced in a Star Trek episode that turned out to be mediocre, or just flat out awful, it’s probably best not to reuse the concept in a later Trek series. And I’m sure everyone reading this recap can understand and internalize this relatively simple message, but sadly, the existence of a Risa episode on Enterprise (coming not long after a Ferengi episode on Enterprise) shows that the producers of Trek were utterly incapable of learning even that straightforward lesson.
One final note of interest. Well, maybe not “interest”, exactly, but when “Let He Who Is Without Sin…” was aired in Germany, it was retitled as “Die Reise Nach Risa”. I’ve never studied German, but after looking at online dictionaries, I’m fairly confident that means “The Journey to Risa”, with a bit of wordplay that gets lost in translation. I guess the German TV execs thought audiences wouldn’t get the quote in the original title, which seems pretty odd to me. I mean, they do have the Bible in Germany, right?
Even odder, the artwork on the German video release of this episode completely eschews any depiction of Worf or Sisko in favor of guest star Vanessa Williams, as shown below.
The text below the episode title is “Die Schuld”, which I think means “The Debt”, the German title for the following (and far superior) episode “Things Past”. Of course, Vanessa didn’t guest star in “Things Past”, making this cover just a tad misleading.
And judging by the insipid “Reise/Risa” pun, and the piss poor drawing of Vanessa Williams that looks nothing like her, it seems this episode was actually able to inspire mediocrity on two different continents. Quite an achievement, no?
Now, Voyager! As promised when I first started doing this Worst of Trek section, I’m recapping two episodes from each series in order of when the series premiered. Now that I’ve fulfilled my contractual obligations to Deep Space Nine, I’m moving onto the series that kicked off the slow, steady creative decline of the franchise, Star Trek: Voyager.
I’m sure it’ll come as no surprise that the first episode I’m recapping is “Threshold”. Universally hated by fans, critics, and even the cast and crew of Voyager, it’s practically begging to be recapped (and that’s before you take into account the hot salamander lovin’). But the second episode is still up in the air. So click the link below to participate in the forum discussion, and suggest an episode of Voyager to be recapped here!