Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1995): S04E09 – The Sword of Kahless


Introduction

“The Sword of Kahless” is the 81st episode of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the ninth of the fourth season.

The story was created by Richard Danus and was turned into a teleplay by Hans Beimler. The episode was directed by Star Trek: The Next Generation alumnus LeVar Burton, and featured the return of John Colicos as Kor.

Colicos had first appeared as Kor in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode “Errand of Mercy“, and had previously appeared in this series in the episode “Blood Oath“.

Set in the 24th century, the series follows the adventures on Deep Space Nine, a space station located near a stable wormhole between the Alpha and Gamma quadrants of the Milky Way Galaxy. In this episode, Kor returns to the station to recruit Lt. Cmdr. Worf (Michael Dorn) and Lt. Cmdr. Jadzia Dax (Terry Farrell) to help to find the ancient Sword of Kahless. After they find the sword, they are forced to evade the forces of Toral (Rick Pasqualone), Son of Duras, and Worf and Kor come to blows over the future use of the weapon.

The episode was the first in the series to feature the character of Worf, who had previously been a character on The Next Generation, in a central storyline. Due to time restraints in filming, there were edits made to the scripts and the production team were forced to make best use of the cave sets which had been seen on the show previously. The sword itself was created specifically for the episode, and was made to seem more elaborate than the bat’leths previously seen in Star Trek, including hand etchings to make it appear similar to Damascus steel. Composer David Bell sought to bring influences of Richard Wagner into the score, including the use of Wagner tubas. Although producers were disappointed with the initial fan reaction, critics later gave a mostly positive response to the episode and compared it to Indiana Jones and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.

Outline

Kor (John Colicos), a revered Klingon warrior, is in Quark’s Bar telling stories of past battles to his friend Lieutenant Commander Jadzia Dax (Terry Farrell). She notices Lieutenant Commander Worf (Michael Dorn) nearby and invites him to meet Kor, who greets Worf happily, saying that anyone who is so strongly disliked by the Klingon government is a friend of his. He explains to Jadzia and Worf that he is on the station as part of his plan to find the legendary Sword of Kahless. The sword is the original bat’leth, used by Kahless to defeat the tyrant Molor. Kor received a shroud from a Vulcan science team, which he believes once held the Sword. He gives it to Jadzia to test the shroud’s authenticity. As he returns to his quarters, Kor is attacked by a Lethean who reads his thoughts in order to find out about the Sword and then removes his memories of the attack. Jadzia finds him the following morning, and thinks that he has passed out from too much alcohol. She has verified the authenticity of the shroud. Captain Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks) lends the trio a Runabout to travel into the Gamma Quadrant to search for the sword on a planet where the Vulcan team found the shroud.

They arrive at the planet and travel to an underground vault which had been ransacked. As they are about to leave, Worf discovers a secret chamber containing the sword. They are attacked by Toral (Rick Pasqualone), son of Duras who had hired the Lethean and wants the sword for the prestige of finding it. Kor, Worf and Jadzia fight past Toral and his men and after finding that they cannot transport back to the Runabout in orbit, they head into the adjoining cave system in order to try to get out of range of whatever Toral is using to block the transporter. As they travel through the caves, the Klingons begin to be affected by the prestige of the sword. Kor begins to talk about how it would allow him to overthrow Chancellor Gowron and Emperor Kahless II but Worf says that he should be the one to lead their people. Suddenly, Kor slips down the side of a cliff but refuses to let go of the sword. Worf grabs the other end of the sword, and tries to convince Kor to let go as he cannot pull him and the sword up.

Dax helps Worf save Kor, and afterwards takes possession of the sword because she thinks the two Klingons cannot be trusted with it. The three make camp and sleep through the night, but Dax is awoken by a scuffle between Kor and Worf. The fight between them stops momentarily after Toral and his men arrive. After Toral is subdued, Kor and Worf again attack each other. Jadzia shoots them both with her phaser set to stun and then forces Toral to deactivate the transport blocker so that the three can return to the Runabout. After they depart the planet, Kor and Worf realise that if the sword divided two men as honourable as they, it would do the same to the Klingon Empire, so they beam it into space, leaving it to drift until the Klingon Empire is ready for it.

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Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s): LeVar Burton.
  • Writer(s): Richard Danus.
  • Release Date: 20 November 1995.
  • Running Time: 45 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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