Let He Who Is Without Sin #StarTrek #DS9 Rewatch (Season 5, Episode 7) Worf Scorns Risa

Rewatching ST:DS9

A nervous Morn sniffs a flower and presents it to a woman who accepts it warmly.

At the replimat, Odo and Sisko chat about the forthcoming O’Brien baby and the risks of interspecies love.

Worf’s jealously and aloofness is played for laughs against Dax’s open friendliness as they discuss a trip to Risa – the Vegas of the Star Trek universe. Bashir and Leeta cheerfully and obliviously invite themselves along, and we learn exactly what kind of an episode we’re in for when we find Quark joins the party.

Shockingly, instead of intercepting a distress call, getting caught in a plot contrivance field and crashing, the runabout actually arrives at its intended destination (though not until after Worf threatens to turn the ship around).

On Risa, Worf grumbles about the fake and fancy-schmancy weather control system – a plot point that will become important later. Though he settles into praising Dax with heartfelt words, the plot requires him to get grumpy and jealous after meeting Arandis, an “old friend” of Dax’s previous host Curzon, who (wink-wink-nudge-nudge) “died happy” during an intimate encounter with Arandis.  

A formally dressed man named Fullerton introduces himself to Worf and gives him an “Essentialist” tract about “restoring the moral and cultural traditions of the Federation,” which (conveniently for the plot) apparently means spoiling everyone’s fun on Risa.

After observing that Leeta and Bashir have each paired up with strangers, Dax seems amused but Worf is scandalized. 

Fullerton speechifies against the pampered and privileged who indulge in luxuries instead of protecting the Federation against its enemies. 

Arandis is perfectly content to let Fullerton have his say because “he’s enjoying himself.” 

We soon learn that Bashir and Leeta have come to Risa to formalize the end of their relationship — so they haven’t been cheating on each other after all.

Fullerton and a group of followers carrying phaser rifles start a disruption. Dax is ready to take them on, but Worf – apparently noting that the group is ripping curtains but not actually hurting anyone – orders her to wait.

It turns out Fullerton has only staged a mock assault, with uncharged weapons, in order to make his point about how weak the Federation has become.

Worf disproves of Fullerton’s actions, but we are left with the impression that he’s thinking deeply about Fullerton’s message. Accordingly, the sparring between Dax and Worf intensifies.

We’re left with the impression that they’ll work it out, because next morning Dax and Arandis fail the Bechdel test by talking about how much Dax loves Worf.

Quark is unimpressed by Bashir and Leeta’s twee and emotionally mature Rite of Separation. “I never would have agreed to be a witness if I knew you were going to be so civil. It’s disgusting.”  The scene ends with Leeta revealing that she’s attracted to Quark’s nerdy brother Rom. (This is actually a kinda big reveal for the Ferengi story arc that runs through the end of the series.)

Worf is shocked to find Dax and Arandis cozying up to some relaxing art therapy. (The iconic pottery scene from “Ghost” immediately comes to mind.)  Is Dax just innocently reacting? Are we about to see another pairing? Whatever Dax’s intentions may have been, Worf is upset, and Dax seems to register that she’s really hurt Worf.

Commander Grumpy marches to Fullerton, telling him he knows a way to make people leave Risa.

A very well-written scene features Bashir and Quark kind of nominally trying to comfort their friend by saying blunt and insensitive things, like the bros in “Friends” or “Big Bang Theory” might do, but the really masterful part of the scene is how Dax participates effortlessly in the banter. She agrees wistfully with the observation that Worf can be a pig-headed idiot, and actually seems comforted when Quark asserts “What you need is a Ferengi.”

“Maybe,” she replies. “But what I *want* is Worf.”

Bad weather shows up, perfectly timed to echo the stormy relationship between Dax and Worf. Too perfectly timed, in fact.

It turns out that it was Worf’s idea to sabotage Risa’s weather control grid. He’s gloating at how miserable the Risans are after just a few days of bad weather.

With fewer distractions he and Dax actually end up having a good talk.

Up to now spoilsport Worf has pretty much been the antagonist in a harmless little comedy, but Dax kinda crosses a line when she challenges Worf’s ideas about Klingon culture. When Worf really does have a reason to get mad, he responds with surprising depth and dignity, sharing a monologue about how as a child he accidentally killed a human boy during a soccer game, and realized he would have to practice self-restraint so that he did not hurt the people around him who he cared about. 

Dax doesn’t cave in; instead she responds with a short but equally sincere speech about how he’ll never be able to control her, but that he can trust her.

And with that, Worf gets what he wanted – a speech in which Dax confirms she is taking their relationship seriously.

The raging storm intensifies to an earthquake, which brings Worf to the realization that the Essentialists have gone too far. 

Just so everyone watching at home is clear that now it’s Fullerton who’s the bad guy, the script has Fullerton smack Worf, and we are all given the satisfaction of seeing Worf chuck Fullerton across the room. (Without actually hurting him, of course.)

The finale shows Worf is now loosening up a bit.

The Fullerton subplot kinda makes it OK to do a silly light show like this in the middle of a war season arc, but it was still pretty unusual for shows in the 1990s to do season arcs at all, so its only on the context of rewatching the entire series that the incongruity bothers me. An okay episode, but a good one if you like the Dax/Worf relationship or if your’re curious about an alternate view of the Federation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *