Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Blood Oath   Rewatch 
September 1, 2015 8:34 PM - Season 2, Episode 19 - Subscribe

John "Kor" Colicos, William "Koloth" Campbell and Michael "Kang" Ansara return to Star Trek playing their Original Series characters, in an episode inspired by the classic films The Magnificent Seven and Seven Samurai.

Short Summary
Eighty-one years ago, three now-legendary Klingons destroyed the power base of a pirate leader known as "The Albino." The pirate retaliated by infecting each of their firstborn sons with a deadly virus. Curzon Dax, a close friend of the three Klingons, was godfather to Kang's murdered son. The four of them swore a Klingon "blood oath" to find and kill the Albino. Now, eighty-one years later, Kang says he has finally found him.

* Colicos had previously played Kor (the first Klingon in the Star Trek franchise) in The Original Series first season episode "Errand of Mercy"
* Campbell had appeared as Koloth in "The Trouble with Tribbles"
* Ansara had portrayed Kang in The Original Series third season episode "Day of the Dove". He would return as Kang once more in the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Flashback" which also guest starred George Takei and Grace Lee Whitney from The Original Series as well as several actors from Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.
* There were concerns that the three actors were no longer working. The casting team on Deep Space Nine tracked down John Colicos and Michael Ansara but couldn't find William Campbell. They subsequently discovered he was doing Star Trek conventions on cruise ships and signed up to appear once he was approached.
* Each of the previous appearances of those Klingon characters had been before the Klingon forehead ridge make-up was in use, and so "Blood Oath" was the first time that each of these characters had been seen with the ridges applied. The writers staff toyed with the idea of having the three Klingons appear as they did in the original Star Trek, but decided against it -- and did not mention the change on screen. When Michael Ansara asked why the Klingons now looked different, he was told "Klingons live to be very, very old and that's a natural physical metamorphosis".
* John Colicos was approached by Michael Piller and allowed to give his own input to the script. Colicos: "When I started reading the script, I spoke to Michael Piller and said, 'I don't really want to play this character, because it's totally contradictory to the original Kor. I have a huge following from the original one, and if he becomes just a buffoon, then I'd honestly rather not do it'. He said, 'No, [Kor] starts out as a rather dipsy, Falstaffian character, but becomes quite heroic in the end'. I said, 'Let me see the last two chapters, before I commit myself finally'. And then there was a question of whether we should all be killed off, whether this was the last hurrah for the 'Over the Hill Klingon' gang. [Piller] said they were contemplating keeping one of us alive, and I said, 'Well, I better be the Ishmael who lives to tell the story'. When they gave me that, I said, 'All right, fine".
* Winrich Kolbe commented "It was the closest thing to Beowulf that I ever saw. There was a mythological quality to it and these guys were real heroes. I played Wagner in my mind the whole day and it had a feel that was beyond episodic television. It was really The Three Musketeers on a smaller scale and I loved it".
* On the return of the TOS actors, Michael Okuda said, "At first, you almost didn't recognize them because they were in heavy Klingon makeup. But as soon as Michael Ansara opened his mouth, there was a powerful sense of déjà vu. Having the three original Klingons on the show was magical for everyone".
* William Campbell commented that he, Michael Ansara and John Colicos all greatly enjoyed the episode: "When it was all over and we finally saw the finished show, we really loved it". One particular scene Campbell enjoyed was the brief scene with Rene Auberjonois. "That was the scene when I walk in to get Colicos out of the drunk tank, and Odo turns around and says, 'How did you get in here?' I say him, 'I am Koloth!' and he says 'You're not answering my question', and my reply is, 'Yes I did'. In other words, Koloth can do anything. An actor can't have a better intro than that, and all the fans who had seen the old show identified him immediately".
posted by zarq (11 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Ansara's Kang embodies the old pre-peace treaty Klingons to me. He's great in this episode except for the end. Thought their wigs were terrible though.
posted by juiceCake at 9:21 PM on September 1, 2015

Kira grabbing Dax by the arms when she gets an idea of what Dax is thinking is one of my favorite scenes with either one of them, ever.

I like that it's a Dax episode where Dax's presence actually makes a difference in the way that the story plays out; it would have been a slaughter if she hadn't confronted Kang about making into a true battle.

The question of whether Jadzia ate The Albino's heart (which seemed ambiguous in this episode) is answered in Season 7 (she did not).
posted by creepygirl at 10:13 PM on September 1, 2015 [3 favorites]

The Dahar masters!

I liked this episode. And we see the Musketeers complain about the Klingon restaurateur, albeit indirectly.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:20 PM on September 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

This is where Dax really comes into her own, for me. She was the last of the main cast for me to warm up to (except poor Jake, but that's already been covered) but she ended up being one of my favorites. They broke out of treating her as The Hot Chick somewhere late in the first season, fortunately, and we see a lot of her dippy romantic side (which I also love) and her open-mindedness in contrast to the rest of the DS9 characters, but it's here where the Curzon influence comes out. Jadzia is such a worthy Klingon. I love this episode. I was a Xena fangirl, so I have a weakness for strong-willed women capable of keeping oaths.
posted by thetortoise at 11:15 PM on September 1, 2015 [3 favorites]

Yeah, this one is where Dax really begins to shine. She develops a fire that's really surprising given how remote she seemed when the series began. And the old Klingons are so great. They may not quite square with the characters as they appeared on TOS, but they are such fun guys and the actors have a ball with it.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 2:01 AM on September 2, 2015 [3 favorites]

My headcanon is the smooth foreheads are the Farrah Fawcett hair of the Klingon Empire. The Emperor had his forehead buffed, then everybody was doing it for about ten years, then it was passe. So they shot him.
posted by Mogur at 5:43 AM on September 2, 2015 [7 favorites]

Yeah, after being all 'yuck, no' about Quark/Dax in the last thread, I really appreciated this as a Dax episode. And being a participant in the TOS rewatch threads, it was a delight to hear all the old Klingon voices again.
posted by oh yeah! at 12:55 PM on September 2, 2015 [2 favorites]

This is a fantastic episode, and I agree that it's a real departure point for Jadzia's character. I think that, early on in the series, many people saw her as a bit of a dull character, but here the writers start to flesh out some of the ideas they hinted at earlier. Part of it comes from Jadzia being both a highly competent scientist and Starfleet officer, and also somewhat of a hedonist and bon vivant, and that these two aspects of her character are absolutely not in conflict. She's already integrated seven other personalities within herself (relatively well), so this quite correctly presented by the writers as unproblematic for her. They hint at it with things like her Tongo habit, or her early morning "wrestling" practice a couple of episodes ago (which, yes, was partly to shake up Arjin, but also probably because Jadzia just enjoys early morning "wrestling"). I don't know if the writers had planned that far ahead, but I look at this episode as the jumping-off point for her romance with Worf.

That being said, I think the writers did a great job of introducing conflict into this episode around Jadzia's willingness to fulfill the blood oath to its fullest terms, and I agree with creepygirl that her conversation with Kira is an outstanding moment in both the episode and the series (and not only for Jadiza's character, but for Kira's as well).

Also, I love that, as dangerous as the Albino is made out to be, his hired goons are still idiots; and I love Jadzia's "diversion" at the armory.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 3:43 PM on September 2, 2015 [5 favorites]

Incredible how uncommon it is for two female characters to have a conversation like that in any television show.

I always thought this episode was later in the series for some reason.

DS9 does a really good job of expanding on aspects of TOS canon. Between this and the Mirror Universe, it acknowledges and expands on that legacy better than TNG ever did (with the possible exception of Spock's appearance).

Also, DS9 dives so much deeper into Klingon culture than TNG. Which is smart because there's so much there.

So many ways this episode demonstrates why DS9 was the best Trek.
posted by dry white toast at 9:09 PM on September 2, 2015 [8 favorites]

This episode may have been the one in which the series as a whole Grew the Beard, at least for me, even though the S1 episode "Duet" was probably the first great DS9 episode. Not only is it great in its own right, just bringing in the three TOS Klingon captains was brilliant. (John Colicos was instrumental in creating the basic character of the Klingons, since AFAIK he was the first named Klingon in the franchise, in the same way as Christopher Lloyd helped create the modern Klingons with Kruge in STIII.) And I agree that Dax leveled up as a character in this episode. I'm also very appreciative of the scene between Dax and Kira.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:28 PM on September 4, 2015 [4 favorites]

I just rewatched this episode last night. I discovered this week that Fanfare was doing DS9 and, lo! and behold!, Fanfare is at a similar point to me! I am skipping around a bit, but I am going to try to catch up so as to be able to participate in the threads.

I liked this episode okay. Some of the outside shots were really stretching it a bit. The Albino's compound looked a bit too much like a government facility (i.e. that the producers were just filming a California water treatment plant or something). It seemed that there was a bit too much narrative ground to cover, so characters changed motivation quickly in order to advance the story. Kang got the worst of this: "Ya know Jadzia, I've doubted you this whole time but now that you suggest what is basically a sneak attack (against, btw, my previously-described general sense of Klingon honor), I will just go with your plan! Why not?"

One thing that occurred to me while watching - a new Trek TV show, should it happen, could be pretty interesting on cable television. To describe the psychology of an alien like Dax would work much better with trippy flashbacks and creepy voiceovers. It must have been alot of work for Terry Farrell to have to constantly narrate both her own and her predecessors' internal monologue. I think a much more creative filmic and storytelling treatment could really bring out the alien aspects of the symbiote partnership and larger symbiote culture.
posted by Slothrop at 5:42 PM on September 13, 2015

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