The Great Star Trek DS9 Rewatch: Soldiers of the Empire

When General Martok is made captain of the Klingon bird-of-prey Rotarran, it is his first command since being captured by the Jem’Hadar. The Rotarran’s morale is at an all-time low after a long string of defeats, and Martok’s cautious leadership does nothing to improve the situation. Having joined the crew as first officer and science officer respectively, can Worf and Dax prevent a bloody mutiny?

Klingon episodes are usually good fun, but I have to admit that this is not one of my favourites. A Matter of Honor was the quintessential “life aboard a Klingon ship” episode, and Soldiers of the Empire just doesn’t really come close. Yes, it’s interesting to examine whether Martok’s captivity has made him more cautious and less gung-ho, but the role of his foil really needs to rest in one character, and not be split between Dax and Worf.

Dax essentially seems to treat this episode as one holodeck adventure – she fully immerses herself into the Klingon culture and completely turns her back on Starfleet principles such as not provoking a fight for the sake of it (by which I mean her desire for the Rotarran to enter battle with the enemy, as opposed to just insulting and beating up the rest of the crew). Worf remains staid and stoic until the end, when he realises that he must challenge Martok, only to deliberately lose the fight so that Martok will regain his fighting spirit and lead the rest of the crew to victory. Obviously Worf had to be present to do this, as Dax is not nearly manly enough to be sparring with Martok.

Die with honour

  • In this episode, Worf finally leaves the House of Mogh behind when Martok welcomes him into the House of Martok.
  • This episode also introduces the IKS Rotarran, which will remain under Martok’s command next season.
  • Morale and discipline aboard ship actually seem to get worse after everyone starts drinking the bloodwine, so in a way, it was Dax who was making things worse for everyone.

Summary – Soldiers of the Empire: Just not as good an episode as it could have been.

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