Friday, October 6, 2023

Star Trek: Blood Oath

Episode: "Blood Oath"
Series: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Season 2, Episode 19
Original Air Date: March 27, 1994

via Memory Alpha

Three Klingon warriors arrive at the station in search of their old friend, Curzon Dax.  Rather surprised to find Jadzia instead, they reluctantly include her in fulfilling a blood oath made by her predecessor.  Together, they seek revenge upon "The Albino," a criminal who had killed each of the warriors' firstborn sons.

At first glance, "Blood Oath" is a Dax story, raising interesting questions about a Trill host's obligations to previous hosts, not to mention the broader moral questions of vengeful murder.  But these aren't just any old Klingon warriors.  Each is a character from Star Trek's original series - indeed, each reprised by the original actor.  Kor (John Colicos) was the first-named Klingon of the franchise, introduced in "Errand of Mercy."  Koloth (William Campbell) first appeared in "The Trouble with Tribbles."  Kang (Michael Ansara) debuted in "Day of the Dove."  In hindsight, focusing on Jadzia development might have been the wiser move.  She works hard to prove herself worthy to each of the Klingons in turn (and ultimately, the audience?).  Her exchanges with Commander Sisko and Kira are also revealing, especially Kira's chilling confessions about the psychological impact of taking a life.  Actress Terry Farrell loves the episode and from the perspective of her character, that's understandable.

Unfortunately, the Klingon reunion narrative falls flat, though it's difficult to pinpoint why.  In the original series, each of the warriors was introduced as an adversary.  Perhaps we're not given enough time to be reacquainted with them as friends in order to feel sympathy in their quest for revenge.  Maybe we resent them for bringing out an ugly side of Jadzia.  Alternatively, the success of the story could be too dependent on the in-joke of bringing them all back.  To be honest, I didn't get the gimmick the first time we watched.  Or maybe the writing, beyond the Dax elements, simply isn't strong.  

It's a shame that two of the three warriors, Koloth and Kang, are killed off.  Star Trek had changed so much in 30 years - over 100 years in-universe - that it would have been fun to see more of them in an updated context.  Kor will be back and that's as it should be.  Of the three, he is the most intriguing character (and the strongest actor) in the episode.

Acting Notes

via Avatar Wiki

Bill Bolender (The Albino) was born November 14, 1940 in Chicago.  He had a recurring role on JAG as well as guest appearances on NYPD Blue, Alias and Deadwood.  Films include JFK, Reality Bites and Nixon.  Bolender's long-term legacy is secure thanks to his portrayal of the unforgettable Elmo Blatch in The Shawshank Redemption.


  1. I heard of this episode and always wanted to see it. When I hear the names Koloth and Kang I always think of those drooling aliens from The Simpsons

    1. You got me curious. The Simpsons characters Kang and Kodos are, in fact, named after original series Star Trek characters: this Kang and Kodos after the character in "The Conscience of the King," played by Arnold Moss.