Sunday, December 16, 2012

Soldiers of the Empire

*** (3 stars out of 5)

It's the Year of Kahless 999, and the Klingon warriors of the Bird-Of-Prey I.K.S. Rotarran are shuffling their feet, hanging their heads and hearing the sad music from Charlie Brown.

They never win! Lucy always pulls the football away at the last second. If by Lucy I mean the Jem'Hadar, and by football I mean the missing Klingon ship B'Moth. Like a B'Moth to a flame, drunk on blood wine by the barrel-full, they rush again and again into a conflagration that leaves them hurt, weakened, and humiliated.

They need a victory.

So nobody's happy to be working for out-of-practice former POW Martok, houseless dishonoured Starfleet lapdog Worf, and some Trill lady science officer who, in her previous life, slept with all their mothers. (Probably.)

Only Dax seems to be on board with the hurt feelings of these guys with their sleeveless metal shirts and Cardassian bone necklaces. She starts goading Worf to nudge Martok out of his 'cowardly' funk and back to the reckless abandon of standard free-wheeling Klingon life.

Knowing, of course, that this means her boyfriend must challenge the old one-eyed Space Dog and either re-kindle Martok's warrior heart or have his own torn out on the point of the General's blade. Maybe both.

"Soldiers of the Empire" has some great moments. When Bashir yells at Martok not to get blood on the carpet. When frustrated Space Cadet Nog mimes strangling Worf. When Martok gets it together and the bridge crew sings their space shanty. When Martok invites Worf to join his house. The moments of victory raise it above the merely mundane. Slightly. But don't let a Klingon hear you say that you think a Slice of Life story is kind of dull and same-y. Or it'll be more like Slice of Face.

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