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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
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Bashir and O'Brien are discussing the Last Stand of Davy Crockett at the Alamo. Work pipes in to say that if you believe in his legend, then they should not doubt that Crockett died a hero. If not, it doesn't matter how he died. Later, Worf receives the Klingon hero Kor at his doorstep, who asks to be given one last command in the Dominion War. Worf agrees to help, but when he goes to Martok with the request, the Klingon general adamantly refuses to help Kor and won't discuss the matter further. Worf later presses the issue and finds out that when Martok was young, Kor revoked his application as an officer because of his lowborn background. Martok has carried a grudge ever since. Worf gives Kor a position anyway: third officer aboard the Ch'Tang. Before Worf leaves, Kor needs to be reminded of the ship name.

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It turns out that the Ch'Tang is Martok and Worf's own ship, and Martok is furious to see Kor arrive. The crew is awed to serve alongside the legendary Dahar master. He spins stories from his past and quickly overshadows Martok on his own ship. Martok's plan is to execute a "cavalry raid," surprise-attacking various important Dominion logistical targets deep in enemy territory and then fleeing back to safety. When the call comes to man battle station, Kor forgets where he's supposed to be and gets reminded by a crewman. In combat with a much larger Cardassian cruiser, both Martok and Worf get knocked unconscious. Kor takes command but quickly starts making all the wrong calls, believing that he's reliving an attack on the Federation from his past. After recovering, Worf has to knock him out to prevent him from killing them all.

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Martok removes Kor from command and takes delight in mocking him in front of the crew, with only his older assistant Darok objecting to the treatment. Kor responds by telling the younger Klingon officers to enjoy their youth while they can, which sours Martok's triumph. Soon, the crew discovers that ten Jem'Hadar ships are in pursuit and will catch up with them before they can reach reinforcements. Worf volunteers to take command of one of the Klingon ships, fire a graviton pulse at their pursuers to force them out of warp, and then stage a Last Stand to buy the rest of the Klingons enough time to get the lead they need to survive. Martok agrees. However, Darok informs Kor of the opportunity to die a glorious death, and Kor seizes it. He hyposprays Worf and takes command in his place, promising to deliver a message to Jadzia when he reaches Sto-Vo-Kor.

Meanwhile, Ezri is venting her frustrations to Kira at the bar, and they joke about what a bad counselor Kira would make. Quark thinks he overhears Ezri say that she's thinking about getting back together with Worf, which depresses him. When Ezri returns later to make an order, Quark suddenly gives her a speech urging her not to return to Worf. He tells her that Worf has done nothing to deserve her, that she's young and beautiful, and that regardless of his own feelings for her, she should be with someone who wins her heart rather than inherits it. Surprised, Ezri assures him that she never intended to get back together with Worf but says Quark's speech was the sweetest thing she's ever heard. She kisses him on the cheek and then orders a Moscow Mule.

Back on the Ch'Tang, Worf arrives on the bridge to announce that Kor has taken his place. Martok and the rest listen to updates from their weapons officer on Kor's progress. Kor hits the Jem'Hadar with a graviton pulse and engages them. By the time the Ch'Tang leaves sensor range, Kor is still fighting the enemy, to the amazement of the crew. Kolana finally announces that the Jem'Hadar are now too far behind to catch them before they make it to safety. Kor has done it. Martok pops a bottle of blood wine to drink in honor the Dahar master as the rest of the crew sings.


This episode contains examples of:

  • 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.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Martok has spent decades wanting to revenge himself upon Kor and to see him humiliated the same way he was. He finally gets his lifelong wish...and it's ultimately a hollow vengeance.
    Martok: I've hated his name for almost thirty years. I've dreamt of the moment when I would finally see him stripped of his rank and title, when he would suddenly find himself without a friend in the world, without the power of his birthright. Well, I've had that moment now. And I took no joy from it.
  • 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.
  • Book Ends: 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."
  • Brick Joke: Martok is still complaining about the paperwork that comes with command.
  • Broken Pedestal: Kor is revered by Martok's crew until his mental deterioration almost gets them all killed.
    • Downplayed with Worf, but he's likewise very disappointed after learning Kor blacklisted a younger Martok from becoming an officer due to his commoner bloodline. Worf feels it was a completely unnecessary and unworthy reason to bar a fellow Klingon from serving the Empire.
  • 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.
  • Do Not Go Gentle: Kor pleads with Worf to let him serve again, just so he can have the chance to die in combat rather than in his bed. That he gets his wish, and manages to combine his death with a Heroic Sacrifice, earns him the respect of all the Klingons who had lost faith in him.
  • 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. Despite his hatred of Kor, Martok joins in the toast to Kor's bravery (although he does not join in with the singing afterwards).
  • 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.
  • Exact Words: Before Worf attempts to depart, Kor bids him farewell and says he looks forward to seeing him in the afterlife. Worf only learns what Kor really means when asked if he has a message for Jadzia.
  • Foil: Darok to Kor, being a fellow Klingon that's past his prime but also far more grounded and retaining all his faculties. Due to this dynamic, it's Darok who talks to Kor about the good old days and the importance of experience.
  • 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.
  • Heroic Vow: While subduing Worf, Kor promises to find Jadzia in the afterlife and tell her of Worf's continued devotion to her.
  • 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, which ends a 30 year tenure for actor John Colicos and closes the book on the franchise's very first Klingon character.
  • 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.
  • Last Stand: Kor's Heroic Sacrifice comes in the form of a suicidal attack on ten Jem'Hadar warships. He fights them longer than any Klingon can believe, enough to buy them enough time to reach safety.
  • 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.
  • Never My Fault: Zigzagged. Kor admits his reputation for ruthless ambition is deserved and it's his own damm fault for making more enemies than friends. On the other hand, he doesn't take any responsibility for making an enemy of Martok and justifies it through bloodlines and common Klingons having no place in the upper ranks of the KDF.
  • 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 some 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.
  • Rebuilt Pedestal: After Kor's Heroic Sacrifice, the crew toast him as a hero.
  • 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.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • As Kor ruefully admits, there is a price to pay for ambition and ruthlessness towards your political and military opponents. It's cost him friends and influence and made him more enemies than were necessary — enemies who, even with the existential threat of the Dominion War, are quite happy to take the time to kick the Dahar Master to the curb.
    • While Martok does ultimately honor Kor's sacrifice and toasts him with bloodwine, he also can't bring himself to join in the crew's singing. Martok's anger and resentment runs deep and even in death he won't forgive Kor.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Kor chastises Martok and his crew for ridiculing him from a position of youth, since they will someday be in his position themselves.
  • 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.
  • Vengeance Feels Empty: Martok has hated Kor for decades, dreaming of the day he would see him humiliated and stripped of his rank. He finally gets his chance due to the ravages of age, but though he tries, he finds he can derive no pleasure from it.
  • 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 Better Than You Think You Are: Kor is at his lowest when Darok talks to him about the good old days and the details of Worf's plan. Kor immediately sees what would be needed to pull the plan off.
    Darok: Perhaps, but it would take a man three times his experience to accomplish such a feat and such a man would have to be certain of his abilities.
  • 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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Kor

Kor is a highly respected Klingon warrior. Unfortunately he only believes leadership positions should only be for those of noble blood. He apparently has stuck so many commoners from officer lists, he can't remember specific names, including Martok's.

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