The past, the future and finding Honor in death. This and more is explored in the episode that originally aired on March 27,1994. This is Blood Oath.
Station Log Stardate undetermined: Blood Oath
Jadzia must decide whether to acknowledge a blood oath with three old Klingons or forgo her past lives promises.
Quark is having issues with a Klingon who has taken over one of his holo-suites. Fetching the constable, Odo defuses the situation by telling the old man he has won the battle he was fighting and lets the drunk Klingon sleep off his bender in a holding cell. Soon Koloth, another Klingon arrives, to fetch his fried Kor from the holding cell however, when Koloth finds his friend inebriated, he leaves Kor in the hands of Odo.
The next morning, reporting to ops, Odo tells Kira of his experience only for Dax to recognize the names of the two Klingons involved. She immediately asks Odo to take her to Kor’s cell where she introduces herself as the one who was Curzon Dax. Kor is amazed and delighted to see his old friend and immediately accepts her for who she is. They go to visit Koloth who is shocked to learn of Curzon’s change. Soon, the third Klingon arrives, Kang, informing the others that he has ‘found the Albino’.
The three are there to complete a Blood Oath in their hunt for The Albino and have come to DS9 to enlist Curzon Dax. Seeing that Jadzia is now Dax, they question her dedication to her past selves Blood Oath and she instantly agrees to join them in their quest. They have come to gain vengeance upon the Albino for the brutal deaths of their sons and, as their days are coming to a close, they have one last chance.
Kang, acknowledging Curzon’s death, releases Jadzia from her blood oath, knowing that she is not the same person he once knew. Struggling with this, she asks Kira for guidance as the Bajoran Officer is the closest to a warrior she knows on the crew. She tells her friend the story of her Blood Oath and how she feels responsible for fulfilling her Oath. To her, this was not an Oath Curzon took, it was one that Dax took.
Deciding to join the three, Jadzia goes back to confront them and ask for her place in the mission. She may have been relieved of her oath, she is determined to join them in their quest. After speaking to Kor, she goes to face Koloth in the holo-suite for a battle proving herself to be worthy of the group. There is only one left to convince and he is not one to change his mind. Jadzia confronts Kang and confronts his honor in the situation. He reluctantly agrees to allow her to attend the mission.
Commander Sisko. however, has other ideas. Denying her of a leave of absence, Sisko informs his Lieutenant that she will not be participating. Despite his orders, she leaves anyhow and joins the Klingons on their mission.
The mission begins and, of course, the three Klingons can not agree on a strategy for the attack. Jadzia confronts Kang in his talk of death and finally gets the truth out of him. Kang originally insisted that Jadzia not participate as he knows that this mission will mean his death. She learns that Kang made a deal with the Albino for one last glorious battle to die as a Klingon. Jadzia is appalled and provides the team with an advantage using her science background. Disabling the enemies weapons from low orbit, the four go in for the attack on The Albino.
Raiding the compound, the four manage to make their way into the Albino’s stronghold and soon gain the upper-hand. The Albino finds his forces overwhelmed and soon must face the four in combat. As the battle wages between The Albino’s remaining forces and the old Klingons, Koloth is struck down in battle but the remaining three fight onward. When Kor is stabbed, it is clear that, even if they win, this will be their final mission.
Kang faces the Albino alone and is soon struck down in battle only for Jadzia to step in and defeat the enemy. Just as she is being forced to make a decision to kill The Albino, Kang stabs him in the back, ending the life of their sworn enemy. Just after taking down his enemy, Kang thanks Dax for allowing him to claim the death blow and dies of his own wounds. All that remains is Jadzia and Kor.
Jadzia returns to her duties on the station but is only greeted in silence from her friends. It is a bitter victory.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
This is by far one of my favorite episodes of the series. There is something magical about this story and the return of three Klingons from the Original Series.
As a kid who grew up watching Star Trek the Original Series with my father, I found it incredible to see the return of Kor, Koloth and Kang. While they had been ‘upgraded’ to have the now accepted brow ridges, they were the original three Klingons in all of their glory and did not disappoint. Each of the actors, John Colicos (Kor), William Campbell (Koloth) and Michael Ansara (Kang) were legends in their own right and do an incredible job bringing these former foes of the Federation to a fitting end.
The story itself is a deep one. It is about loyalty and finding peace, about life and death. For Jadzia, she must make a decision that could seriously affect her career as a Star Fleet officer and her relationship with Ben Sisko. Although it has been firmly established that Trills are not responsible for the events of their past lives, it seems that Jadzia has a hard time with this, seeing that she nearly accepted execution last season due to Curzon’s actions. While this can be seen as somewhat of a plot device, it really shows just how dedicated Jadzia is to her past and how seriously she takes her friendships. To Jadzia, she is more than just the next host, she is Dax and all that comes with that history.
Additionally, this episode really fills in some of the history that has taken place between the Original series and STNG. We learn that it was Curzon who was instrumental in the peace talks between the Klingon Empire and the Federation with Kang being one of the instrumental participants in the peace talks. I find it somewhat ironic that one if James Kirk’s biggest enemies would end up becoming one of the ones who managed to join the two Empires together over the negotiating table. I love Klingon-centric episodes and for Dax to have a connection with the Klingon Empire, made this character so much more to me.
The other part of this story involves something we all go through at some point in our lives, leaving a Legacy and going out in our own terms. For Klingons, to grow old and die is one of the biggest dishonors a Klingon can have. It means that you were not worthy enough to die in battle and go on to Stovokor, the Klingon Afterlife for the Honorable. To die in battle is one of the greatest honors to them so, when the three elderly Klingons arrive, this is a fact that lies heavily on their minds. Having pursued the Albino for so long, this one last fight seems to be the perfect opportunity to die in battle or have one final adventure before they face their final days in disgrace. To us, this seems an extreme measure to find a place in the afterlife, but when you stop and think about things, how are we any different? Sure, many of us do not try to die in battle to make our name in the world, but many of us form what is called an Immortality Project.
To us, having your existence recognized well past your death is akin to finding a place among the honored dead. We have all heard stories about great leaders, philosophers, discoverers, scientists, artists, etc, and, in the backs of our minds, we have, each of us, wanted to be among them. Many of us strive to be rich, to be famous, or just to be known, leaving behind books or movies or even, in some extreme cases, bodies. All of these, in many cases, have allowed these people to become well known and, in turn, immortal. For Klingons, their Immortality is leveraged on how honorable they lived in life and how honorable their deaths are. To not die in battle means that they have been forgotten, and no songs will be sung about their sacrifice. There is simply no greater dishonor than that.
All in all, one of the finest episodes of DS9 and one that will set the bar for the rest of the series.
Michael Ansara is by far one of my personal favorite actors of the past. His voice alone holds such power that he dominates any character that he portrays. I particularly loved his inclusion in Batman The Animated series as Mister Freeze. His is the definitive version of this character and every time I read a Batman comic with Freeze involved, it is his voice I hear.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
We have not seen the last of Kor, as he will return in future episodes.
We never fully learn who the Albino is although it is pretty clear that he is Klingon. This is further solidified by the existence of another Albino Klingon Voq in the new series Star Trek Discovery.
There is a great interchange between Kor and Jadzia that really shows just how open he is to Dax’s new form as a female.
‘Kor: Curzon my beloved old friend.
Dax: I’m Jadzia now
Kor: Well, Jadzia my beloved old friend.’
I honestly cant think of any better example of acceptance than this. It could teach us a thing or two.
This episode also sets the stage for a certain future relationship. I wont say anymore but you’ll see…
We learn that Curzon Dax was the Godfather to Kang’s son, something that, in itself, is a great honor for a non-Klingon to be named.
Thanks for reading the Retro TV Review, I look forward to discussing the rest of the series with you, one episode at a time every Monday, Wednesday and Friday! Next Review: The Maquis Part I
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Late To The Game 3/20/2021 (Originally published 5/22/2019)
Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available. Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.
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