Our resident Star Trek blogger, Willow Yang, made her way through the infamous “Let He Who Is Without Sin” episode of DS9 (Season 5, Episode 7). She’ll need a vacation when she’s done with this one …

It ain’t easy being a Klingon …

Worf joins an organization of puritanical extremists and commits acts of sabotage after becoming jealous of his girlfriend, whom he suspects is cheating on him with a Risan woman played by Vanessa Williams. Would this be an accurate synopsis for Deep Space 9’s Let He Who Is Without Sin? This episode, along with Move Along Home, is frequently considered to be among the worst of the series.

As I’ve stated before, I actually did not hate the latter: the “Alamarine part” was godawful, but that was (fortunately) only one short scene, and I didn’t think the rest of the episode was all that horrendous. Would it surprise you to hear that I also didn’t think Let He Who Is Without Sin was terrible either, that I actually enjoyed some parts of the episode?

I will start out by saying that I have quite liked how DS9 has handled the relationship between Jadzia and Worf. The attempt of shipping Troi and Worf during the final season of The Next Generation did not work for me seeing that, firstly, it came completely out of the blue, and secondly, I did not think that the two were a good match.

Worf is very traditionalist, and generally adheres strictly to Klingon customs, making it difficult for me to see him in a relationship with someone who is not at least part Klingon. Jadzia circumvents this issue since it has been well-established, since Blood Oath in Season 2, that she possesses an in-depth knowledge of Klingon culture and can even go toe-to-toe against one in a bat’leth duel. There is also much better buildup to their romance, with episodes like The Sword of Kahless and Sons and Mogh (although I personally think the solution that Jadzia came up with for Worf in the latter episode was completely unethical, but that’s a debate for another time), so that when they do eventually hook up in Looking for par’Mach in All the Wrong Places – Star Trek’s retelling of Cyrano de Bergerac – it felt natural and believable. And then along comes Let He Who Is Without Sin.

One of the major criticisms that I’ve seen people level towards the episode is that they thought everyone, in particular Worf, were completely out of character. To be honest, I did not find that to be as big of an issue. Worf has always been a curmudgeon – just take it from Beverly Crusher, who described him as “the big guy who never smiles”. And while his behaviour towards Jadzia might be considered borderline abusive by modern human standards, he was also that way around K’Ehleyr, and was constantly irritated by her general indifference towards Klingon customs.

Furthermore, I liked that the episode addressed the reason why Worf did not behave like other Klingons, why he always seemed so stoic. His traumatic childhood backstory is admittedly clichéd, but I do think the concept itself – that he is essentially like Superman, living in a world made of glass, always having to hold back for fear of hurting someone – is good, and makes sense for his character. Now, I do agree that Worf’s jealousy and extreme insecurity about his relationship – so much so that Sisko even had to clarify that he had only been on Risa with Curzon – was a little too much, even if it’s supposed to be done for comedic effect. Furthermore, I fail to understand how Worf’s fear of allowing himself to cut loose after accidentally killing a human boy in his youth has got to do with his paranoia that his girlfriend is being unfaithful to him. Those seem to be two separate issues.

As Quark learns in this episode of DS9: “When on Risa …”

As for the rest of the episode, Quark had a couple of entertaining moments, including when he revealed that the Ferengi language had 178 words for “rain” and no word for “crisp”, and when he handed Bashir his fertility statue – an unusually generous gesture on his part – after Leeta revealed that she’s been lusting after Rom. The Essentialists were boring and uninspired antagonists, but it is comforting to see that a few hundred years from now we will still have people from the older generation complaining that the younger one is spoiled, undisciplined, and immoral, a cycle that will probably continue till the end of humanity. Curzon supposedly died while having sex with Arandis.

Unless I’m missing something here, this is inconsistent with the flashback in Emissary, which showed Curzon clearly alive and conscious while the symbiont was being transferred to Jadzia. Also, I’m curious to know exactly how he died. Did he have a heart attack, or did he get his head caved in during face-sitting? Finally, Worf totally lied at the end when he told Jadzia that he didn’t have a bathing suit since we clearly saw him holding up a pair of glittery trunks earlier. I suspect he just wants to go au natural.

All in all, Let He Who Is Without Sin is not a good episode. The story is weak, the dialogue leaves much to be desired, and Worf did come across as being an incredibly insecure jerk who should probably be facing charges for committing acts of vandalism on Risa.

However, I don’t agree with the vehement hatred that many of the fans have expressed towards the episode either; I certainly don’t think it comes anywhere near the cinginess of some of the early TNG episodes like The Dauphine, Angel One, and of course, the absolute travesty that’s Shades of Grey.

More importantly, Let He Who Is Without Sin does serve a purpose in furthering the development of Worf’s character, and in spite of his immature behaviour, I still think there is far better chemistry between Worf and Jadzia here than there was between Worf and Troi, and I want to see more of their relationship.