Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: “Let He Who is Without Sin…”

“Let He Who is Without Sin…”
Written by Ira Steven Behr & Robert Hewitt Wolfe
Directed by Rene Auberjonois
Season 5, Episode 7
Production episode 40510-505
Original air date: November 11, 1996
Stardate: unknown

Station log: Dax joins Odo and Sisko for a drink. Dax and Worf are planning a trip to Risa. Their relationship is developing in fits and starts, and Worf isn’t thrilled with Dax having lunch with Captain Boday—nor with her telling everyone on the station about their personal lives. Worf’s mood is not improved by Bashir and Leeta asking to come along, though he can’t see any objection to sharing a runabout with them—however his mood gets downright foul when Quark announces that he’s joining them. He wouldn’t give Leeta the time off unless he got to come along, and he’s always wanted to go to Risa.

Quark gives everyone, except Worf, a hor’gahn. Worf, because he’s twelve, refuses to even speak to Quark, instead telling Dax to “tell the Ferengi” to stay in the aft cabin.

They arrive. Bashir and Leeta go off on their own, and Quark pootles off with two hor’gahns. They meet up with Arandis, who was an old friend of Curzon’s. In fact, Arandis was with Curzon when he died—of jamarahon. Dax insists that he died happy.

The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Let He Who is Without Sin...

Worf is visited by Pascal Fullerton of the New Essentialist Movement—basically a 24th-century moral majority that wants to shut Risa down because it embodies the decadent values that are destroying the Federation. Worf insists on attending a rally he holds, despite Dax’s skepticism. Fullerton believes that if the Federation doesn’t change their ways, it’ll be destroyed by the Borg or the Dominion or the Klingons or the Romulans. It’s classic paranoia bullshit.

Bashir and Dax and Arandis are unimpressed. Worf, however, thinks Fullerton has a point. Leeta arrives and she and Bashir explain that they’re there for the Rite of Separation, a Bajoran custom whereby a couple spends one last few days together to remember the good times and have one last fling before going their separate ways.

The Essentialists stage a pretend attack on a dining hall, complete with phaser rifles, albeit powerless ones. It was to prove a point, although it was a dumb one.

The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Let He Who is Without Sin...

Worf is having trouble dealing with Dax’s free spirit and he’s concerned that she doesn’t take the relationship as seriously as he does. But then nobody takes things as seriously as he does…

Leeta and Bashir share a drink out of a bowl, which they then shatter, while reciting a ritual, thus completing the Rite of Separation. Leeta then admits that she’s been thinking about another man for several months: Rom. Both Quark (who witnessed the breakup and was very disappointed in how civilized it was) and Bashir are appalled that she’s attracted to Rom, and Quark hands him a hor’gahn. “You need this more than I do.”

Worf walks in on Dax and Arandis sculpting together. He assumes she’s cheating on him with her, because he’s an idiot, and goes back to their quarters. He shatters the hor’gahn that Quark gave Dax, and then meets with Fullerton. Worf suggests that Fullerton up his game by destroying the weather control systems.

Dax, Quark, and Bashir are talking, wondering where Worf disappeared to, when it starts raining. Fullerton and Worf take credit for the sabotage. Fullerton says that the Federation has to stop playing with toys, and Worf says that if Federation citizens can’t handle rain, they won’t be able to handle an invasion.

Dax confronts Worf about what he’s done. Worf tries to point out Dax’s deficiencies by saying she isn’t like a Klingon woman, but Dax points out that Curzon spent more time with Klingons than he has. Worf is a paragon of Klingon honor and virtue, but he doesn’t have the passion for life that most Klingons have. But growing up surrounded by fragile humans, Worf had to force himself to show restraint. He’s so concerned about losing control that he’s afraid someone he cares about will get hurt.

Fullerton has taken Worf’s uplink and used it to disable the tectonic regulators, so now there are earthquakes. Worf and Dax confront Fullerton and take the uplink. Fullerton tries to convince Worf that he’s turning his back on the Federation. When Worf tries to leave, Fullerton grabs him and backhands him, further proof—if the entire plot wasn’t already proof of that—that he’s an idiot. Worf throws him across the room, announces he’s on vacation, and leaves with Dax and the uplink.

The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Let He Who is Without Sin...

The weather is restored on the day they’re leaving. Leeta goes to pack, Quark goes to find Bashir (last seen at breakfast with a hor’gahn), and Dax convinces Worf to go skinny dipping.

Can’t we just reverse the polarity? Risa’s perfect weather is an illusion created by technology—not only does the weather grid keep the rains away, it also stops the earthquakes. At least until some moron sabotages it…

The slug in your belly: Curzon looooooooooooooooooved Risa. He loved it so much that he died of jamaharon. Because of course he did.

There is no honor in being pummeled: When Worf was a child on Gault, he was the biggest, the baddest, the toughest kid. On a world of 20,000, it seemed like everyone knew everyone else, and everyone definitely knew “the Klingon boy.” But then, during a soccer game, he accidentally caused the death of one of his teammates, Mikel. After that, he was forced to restrain himself of his passions, to the point where it’s second nature now.

The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Let He Who is Without Sin...

Rules of Acquisition: The Ferengi language has 178 words for rain. The weather after the grid is sabotaged is glebbening. There is also no word for crisp.

No sex, please, we’re Starfleet: The Bajoran Rite of Separation is delightfully mature. Meanwhile, Worf at one point compares Dax’s beauty to that of a particularly spectacular stellar phenomenon he encountered on the Defiant. Bashir also admits that the real reason why he stopped pursuing Dax is that she’s too much work.

The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Let He Who is Without Sin...

Keep your ears open: “Do not hug me.”

Worf to Bashir after Leeta surprises him with a hug, thus setting the tone for the episode.

Welcome aboard: Chase Masterson is back as Leeta. Monte Markham plays Fullerton, Frank Kopyc plays the Bolian, and, of course, the big guest (who was advertised heavily in the previews for the episode) is Vanessa Williams as Arandis.

Trivial matters: Risa’s weather-control system was established back in TNG’s “The Mind’s Eye.”

Captain Boday was previously referenced in “The Maquis, Part I.”

The references to a Borg threat foreshadows the Borg cube that invades the Alpha Quadrant in the movie First Contact, which would be released a couple of weeks after this episode aired.

Your humble rewatcher had a dramatization of Worf’s accidental killing of Mikel in the comic book Perchance to Dream, and it was also seen during a mind-meld between Worf and Spock in The Brave and the Bold Book 2. I also showed Curzon spending time on Risa in The Art of the Impossible.

Leeta’s interest in Rom was first hinted at in “Bar Association.”

Walk with the Prophets: “I have got to take you on vacation more often.” There is precisely one thing I like about this episode, and I don’t just like it, I love it unreservedly: Worf’s confession to Dax of his accidentally causing the death of a fellow child.

One of the great mysteries about Worf is why he’s so stoic and restrained. He’s unlike any other Klingon we’ve met, something that was only spoken of directly in two conversations between Worf and Guinan in “Yesterday’s Enterprise” and “Redemption,” but the reason for it was never really explicated. It wasn’t how the character was conceived. If you read David Gerrold’s novelization of “Encounter at Farpoint” (or, for that matter, his script for “Blood and Fire,” which was never produced as a TNG episode), you see a Worf who is much more like the other Klingons we’ve seen both before and since. (The out-of-the-box explanation was that Michael Dorn’s makeup in the first season would shift position if he changed his facial expressions too much.)

In one scene, it’s all explained, and while it’s fairly clichéd, it also snaps all of Worf’s character into focus. Dorn also delivers the explanation with the same heartbreakingly matter-of-fact tone that he told Dax of his being made fun of by other Klingons when he visited Qo’noS in “The Sword of Kahless.”

Sadly, while that one scene is magnificent, and deserves to be praised, it’s the only thing about this misbegotten disaster of an episode that deserves even a nice thing being said about it.

Well, okay, for those of us who appreciate such things, Terry Farrell, Chase Masterson, and Vanessa Williams all look really hot, and it’s incredibly fitting that Curzon died the same way that Phil Esterhaus did, and the Rite of Separation is pretty cool, but overall this episode is just dreadful. The Essentialists are straw opponents who are stupid and easily proven idiotic, and Worf is made to look far foolish than usual in order to create artificial conflict by having him side with these doofuses.


Warp factor rating: 1

Keith R.A. DeCandido will be appearing at Balticon 48 this weekend (starting today, in fact). When he isn’t doing panels or readings or autographings, he’ll be in the dealer’s room at the Dark Quest Books table, peddling his books (and he’ll have a few copies of The Klingon Art of War for sale, too!). His schedule is here.


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