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Recap / Star Trek Deep Space Nine S 07 E 07 Once More Unto The Breach

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"Long live the Empire."
"Savor the fruit of life, my young friends. It has a sweet taste when it's fresh from the vine. But don't live too long. The taste turns bitter... after a time."
— Kor

The legendary Klingon warrior Kor shows up on Worf's doorstep, desperate for help. Thirty years ago, Kor rejected Martok's application to the Klingon academy, and now Martok refuses to allow Kor to serve in combat, guaranteeing a dishonorable death. Worf goes behind Martok's back and grants Kor a position in the fleet, but Kor's deteriorating mind might not be up to the task. In the b-plot, Quark sets his sights on Ezri.


This episode contains examples of:

  • Adult Fear: Kor's condition will strike a chord with anyone who's seen a loved one deteriorate from conditions like Alzheimer's or dementia.
  • All for Nothing: Martok dreamed for 30 years of the day when Kor would be humiliated and destroyed. He finally sees it, but after Kor rebukes him with "The Reason You Suck" Speech, Martok realizes he can't take any pleasure from it.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Downplayed. Kor denied Martok's application to become a KDF officer for no other reason than that he wasn't of noble birth. Martok worked his way Up Through the Ranks despite this.
  • Back in the Saddle: Deconstructed with Kor. When he tries taking command while Martok is incapacitated, his senility throws him completely out of hand and almost get everybody killed. However, he gains their admiration again with his heroic sacrifice in the end.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: Kor's death gets this effect, as Kor fights the Dominion fleet—we never see his ship destroyed; we only get a play-by-play until the Rotarran gets too far away for the sensors to pick up what's happening.
    • Worf gives an analysis of the trope from his romantic perspective when discussing Davy Crockett at the Alamo: If you believe in the legend then you can simply accept he died a hero's death. If you don't then he was just a man, and it doesn't matter how he died.
  • Bookends: Kor's speech to the younger Klingons before his death is reminiscent of what he said to the Organians in his first TOS appearance in "Errand of Mercy": "I hope you will continue to savor the sweetness of your life."
  • Broken Pedestal: Kor is revered by Martok's crew until he starts acting like he has Alzheimer's.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Martok hates Kor because Kor denied his application to become an officer, delaying his career by five years. Kor doesn't even remember it because he reviewed so many applications in those days, although he admits it sounds like something he'd do.
  • Continuity Nod:
  • A Death in the Limelight: Probably Kor's most significant episode and also his last.
  • Description Cut: Kor promises that Martok won't even know that he's aboard the Ch'Tang. At least, not until everyone else on the bridge starts squeeing.
  • Due to the Dead: Darok brings some blood wine onto the bridge before the final assault begins—saying that they can drink to the courage of those about to die whether they succeed or not.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Kor and a skeleton crew in a damaged Bird of Prey versus a fleet of ten Dominion fighters. They not only managed to force them all out of warp, they successfully engaged them all at once for at least ten minutes.
  • Easily Forgiven: Subverted - Martok will toast Kor's bravery, but when the crew begins to sing of Kor's glorious death, he cannot join them because of his lingering resentment.
  • The Engineer: Kor tells the crew a story of how he commanded one of the first battlecruisers equipped with a cloaking device. Because there were only a handful of Klingon engineers who could understand the device, he spent days taking it apart and putting it back together in order to work it.
  • Foreshadowing: It takes Kor just 35 seconds to forget the name of the Ch'Tang (the ship he'll be serving on) which sets up his senile dementia for later. This is particularly jarring, as fighting in the Dominion war on a ship such as the Ch'Tang is his only desire at this point. In order to ensure you've got it Kor... it's the Ch'Tang.
  • Give My Regards in the Next World: Kor's last words to Worf.
    Kor: When I reach the halls of the honored dead, I will find your beloved and remind her that her husband is a noble warrior... and that he still loves no one but her. Good-bye, my friend. Live well.
  • Heroic Sacrifice / You Shall Not Pass!: Attempted by Worf but ultimately carried out by Kor who fights a ten to one battle against the pursuing Jem'Hadar ships to give the other ships in the fleet time to reach safety.
  • Hit-and-Run Tactics: Martok plans a series of these behind enemy lines. Sisko even compares it to an old Earth "cavalry raid."
  • How the Mighty Have Fallen: Kor towards the end of the episode; stricken with dementia, long past his prime, reduced to a laughing stock, and with nothing but Glory Days to his name.
  • Humble Pie: Martok and the crew attempt to serve a slice to Kor as he eats alone in the mess. Kor's "The Reason You Suck" Speech in response pisses Martok off to no end. He hates Kor and wanted to humiliate him, but he just made himself feel like a Jerkass and took no joy in it.
  • Instant Sedation: Kor instantly sedates Worf using hypospray while taking his place on the Ning'tao.
  • It Has Been an Honor: Darok's goodbye to Kor:
    "It has been an honor serving with you... Kor, son of Rynar."
  • Jerkass: No one wants to give Kor a command despite his considerable battlefield success and officer experience because, for one reason or another, he has slighted literally every single notable officer in the Klingon navy.
  • Killed Off for Real: Kor.
  • The Knights Who Say "Squee!": Much of Martok's crew are visibly excited to serve with Kor. For a while.
  • Large Ham: It's a Klingon episode! That said, Kor's Ham is legendary.
  • Literary Allusion Title: A Shout-Out to William Shakespeare's Henry V.
  • More Expendable Than You: Why Kor takes Worf's place fighting the Jem'Hadar—Worf is still young with plenty of battles to fight, while Kor is way over the hill and won't see another battle.
    • Kor also points out that most of Worf's experience is with Federation ships, while Kor has been commanding Birds of Prey since they were introduced. He then goes on to demonstrate exactly why they call him a Master, with the observers watching the battle in awe.
  • Noodle Incident: So Curzon broke into a harem, eh?
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Kor's final moment of badassery is too epic to actually be witnessed. The play-by-play is delivered by the helmsman until they reach their sensor limit.
  • Out-of-Context Eavesdropping: While Ezri tells Kira about how she wishes she could fight side-by-side with Kor one more time, Quark shows up late and thinks she's talking about getting back together with Worf.
  • Pet the Dog: Due to the above-mentioned Out-of-Context Eavesdropping, Quark ends up giving a speech to Ezri pleading with her not to get back together with Worf, telling her that, despite having Jadzia's memories, Ezri is her own person and should keep herself open to the idea of new relationships. Quark even uncharacteristically points out that his objection has nothing to do with any feelings he has for Jadzia or Ezri. Ezri mildly teases Quark for it, but she's touched by his sincerity.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: 30 years ago, Kor blacklisted Martok from becoming an officer, solely because Martok wasn't of noble blood. Kor's comments in the present day imply that he hasn't completely shed such sentiments.
  • Scatterbrained Senior: Played for Drama. Kor's mental faculties have begun to fail him, as he believes himself fighting the Federation while he is actually on a ship battling the Dominion, nearly driving the ship and its crew to certain doom by pressing the attack while outmatched by the Jem'Hadar. After Worf takes command and gets the ship out of harm's way, Kor realizes what happened and becomes very sullen.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Kor severely rebukes Martok and his crew for ridiculing him after his bout of Klingon Alzhimer's.
  • Servile Snarker: Darok. His days of battle are long behind him, but his wit is still as sharp as a brand new Bat'leth.
    Martok: There will come a day, Darok, when your services as my aide will no longer be required.
    Darok: I look forward to that day with great anticipation.
  • Suddenly SHOUTING!:
    Worf: I wish to speak to you about Kor. Now I know you have strong feelings about—
    Martok: CLEAR THE BRIDGE!!!
  • To Absent Friends: Worf and Kor drink a toast to Jadzia.
    • Done at the end, too, when Worf, the crew, and even Martok toast Kor's sacrifice.
  • Warts and All: The crew realizes that Kor's best days are behind him when, in the middle of an attack on a Dominion outpost, he assumes command and believes he's reliving a battle he led against a Federation colony.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Martok's father wanted him to become an officer, but Kor blacklisting him meant he couldn't even become a warrior, and had to join a warbird as a civilian auxillary. By the time he earned a Field Promotion, his father was dead.
  • Working-Class Hero: Martok is revealed to have come from a poor background and to have worked his way up through the ranks after winning himself a battlefield commission.
  • You Are in Command Now: Kor assumes command when Martok and Worf are briefly incapacitated. It goes badly until they're able to reassert authority.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: Kor takes command of a damaged vessel, and leads a skeleton crew of volunteers on a suicide mission to delaying a Jem'Hadar squadron from overtaking the Klingon task force they were chasing. This is deemed so impressive by the Klingons on the ship he'd been serving on, that they all (even Martok, who hated the man) share a drink to his memory. Truly a warrior's death.


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