Episode 4.9: The Sword of Kahless

The Bajorans are not the only species to explore faith in DS9; the Klingons have a strong spiritual component to their culture. The faith of the Klingons is much more mystical, and far less structured than that of the Bajorans. Faith journeys for Klingons involve straining the body and staring into fires for hours on end. This journey for the sword is akin to a quest of an ancient artefact, such as the Holy Grail. It begins in a bar, where all good quests start, with a tale and a shroud. I quite enjoyed this opening. However, I think this episode was mostly written to appeal to TNG fans through Worf. There are a lot of connections to Worf’s past here (the Duras connection with Toral, the mention of Worf’s family on the High Council, the Klingon Emperor being a clone). Because of that, I think, this episode ultimately didn’t capture my attention very well. There are few lasting impacts. The only consequential theme is the connection between Worf and Dax begins. Worf sees Jadzia as a strong woman for the first time, worthy of challenging him.

The power of the sword was the effect it could have on Klingons. The sword is never portrayed as anything more than just a sword. But it is so much more than simply a sword. This clear effect it has, without any techno-babble explanation, is the mystical quality of the sword; I think this was better than giving the sword some technological quality. Klingons who come near it become corrupted by grandiose thoughts of power. Even Worf, who is honorable to his own detriment, ends up using fate to justify his selfish actions. He attempts to deceive Kor about the ledge, and afterwards said had he fallen, it would have been destiny. Worf questions the Emperor, someone who Worf himself helped put into power, in favor of himself leading the Klingons. I take away from this the notion that symbols indeed have power. Power to sway hearts and minds, to inspire leaders and villains. They are a rallying point under which we unify our cause. We should tread lightly around our symbols and be critical of them, else they can end up controlling us. I think ancient cultures had a sense of this through idol worship. In the end, it was a common enemy and the heat of combat that bring Kor and Worf back together and back to their senses. This is the Klingon path. Though they did not have a destiny to use the sword to unite the Klingons, they did have a destiny to find it.

Random Thoughts: 1) Kor is a great storyteller. It’s a rare art anymore. 2) Worf had hero worship of Kor. 3) Kor is attacked by a Lethean, the same species that attacks Bashir in Distant Voices (Ep. 3.18). 4) The shroud of the sword appears to be modelled after the Shroud of Turin. 5) Asking Sisko for a runabout in his quarters felt a bit odd. His justification for giving them the runabout, to patch up relations with the Klingons, felt very plausible. 6) The Hur’q, who ruled over the Klingons a thousand years ago, are from the Gamma Quadrant. That means the wormhole has been around a very long time. 7) Kor gives up nearly instantly when they initially couldn’t find the sword. It is Dax and Worf’s tenacity that finally finds the sword. 8) The sword is wrought in a manner similar to Damascus steel. 9) The cave set looks extremely similar to the cave from Move Along Home (Ep. 1.9). 10) Dax ending up stunning both Worf and Kor was well deserved. 11) Kor’s encounter with Kirk in the TOS episode Errand of Mercy (Ep. 1.27) is referenced. 12) This episode is referred to DS9’s version of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.

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~ by Joshua Black on August 3, 2017.

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