Shifting gears for a bit (mostly because while I was able to watch Season 4 and part of Season 5, I haven’t been able to do my normal rewatch blog posts), I wanted to talk specifically about these two episdoes, In Purgatory’s Shadow and By Inferno’s Light. Despite sharing a plot with Garak, I think these episodes might just be the best representation of Worf in the entirety of the Next Gen era Trek.
There’s a trope named after Worf – when you want to show some new alien race is tough, have them beat up the Klingon guy. It got to be a little embarrassing for the poor guy, to be honest. Part of it was, once you establish him as being that tough, well, the next guy has to be able to beat him to be seen as a threat. Anyway, Worf improved quite a bit as a character once on Deep Space 9, and this two-parter really shows that. He’s captured with Garak while investigating a signal from Enabran Tain in Dominion space, and taken to a prison asteroid. There, the Jem’Hadar test themselves by fighting the prisoners. We meet the real General Martok, who has been the Jem’Hadar’s punching bag, until Worf arrives. You get it all. Klingon honor, ass-kicking by Worf, stoic toughness in the face of broken wounds, a promise of an epic poem extolling his deeds, the works. He even brings the Jem’Hadar commander around, earning enough respect that he refuses to kill a defeated Worf.
It’s what we were always TOLD about Klingons, but not often shown. Here’s an entire race designed for war, even moreso than the Klingons, and Worf beat the tar out of all of them, save one. Even when Martok advises him to stay down, that ‘honor has been satisfied’, he gets up. That’s what we always wanted from Worf. Not him getting knocked flat every other episode so the alien of the week can be shown as tough.