Thursday, February 17, 2011

Classics: DS9 5:7 - Let He Who Is Without Sin...

Overall: 1.3

I have been looking forward to savaging this one from the moment we created this blog. That right there should be evidence enough that this episode sucks and sucks hard.

Plot Synopsis:

If you're really dying to know the plot of this piece of excrement, Memory Alpha has a summary here.

The Skinny:

Actually, I recommend that you head to the Memory Alpha entry even if you don't care to learn the particulars of this episode's laughable three-pronged story, as the commentary at the bottom of the page is truly astonishing. Apparently, Wolfe, Behr, and the rest of DS9's creative team are under the impression that Let He Who Is Without Sin... fails because it's just not sexy enough. Ponder that for a bit while I bang my head into the wall thirty times.

This episode doesn't fail because it's lacking in T&A. First of all, it fails because, as SFDebris has already observed, the leads morph into utterly unlikable caricatures of themselves. Yes, Worf is a bit uptight, but would he really rain all over everyone's parade simply because he's fighting with his girlfriend? And if you think Jadzia escapes this character assassination extravaganza unscathed, think again. Here, she becomes a bratty, insensitive child who whinges constantly about Worf's controlling her when all Worf wants is for her to reign in her flirting.

Allow me to veer slightly off-topic for a second: Our parents have what is in all respects a very healthy and happy relationship. However, over the years, a few of Dad's female colleagues have achieved the status of "Woman Who Must Not Be Named." Why? Because these women insisted on flirting with Dad and sharing with him the intimate details of their love lives. Now, I don't think Mom is being a jealous bitch whenever she requests that Dad keep his relationships with his co-workers professional; as a matter of fact, I would think there was something very wrong with Mom if she didn't object to these women's advances. This post-modern idea that we should float from one relationship to the next without getting invested is such dehumanizing crap.

Now let's get back to Worf. Just as I believe Mom is completely within her rights to ask Dad not to talk about sex while at work, Worf is perfectly within his rights to ask that Jadzia refrain from gossiping about their inimate life -- and he is also within his rights to question Dax's associating with former lovers. Worf is responding as any normal red-blooded humanoid should, and I resent that the writers are so obviously trying to argue the contrary. Dax wants to be free to do whatever she pleases, but I'm sorry, sister -- it just doesn't work that way. In any good relationship, you have to give a little to get a little.

Secondly, this episode fails because it sets up a false dichotomy. Here, we are presented with a choice between the shallow promiscuity of the Risians and the stuck-up Puritanical Essentialists. No moderate voices are ever given a hearing. No one ever pipes up and says, "Hey, this Fullerton is a complete jackass and I would never condone his methods, but he may have a point about our decadence. Perhaps all this meaningless sex is a dangerous distraction." No -- instead, the writers spend the entire episode telling us what to think. And what message do they want us to take away from Let He Who Is Without Sin..., pray tell? That social conservatives are bitter, hateful people who need a good f--cking - no, I'm sorry, jamaharoning - to be cured of their hang-ups. Well, jamaharon you, writers. Personally, I think your peculiar brand of morality has become a boil on the backside of our republic.

Writing: 0.0

As I remarked above, the main characters are assassinated left and right, and the central conflict is painted in such ridiculously black-and-white terms that you can't help but despise the writers for inflicting it upon us.

Acting: 4.0

The cast gives it a good college try, but they largely fail to overcome the aforementioned terrible writing.

Message: 0.0

Have you heard? We conservatives are eeeeeeeeevil. Why, we'd even rain all over people's vacations if we had the means.


  1. I think the problems with Let He who is Without Sin go further than character assasination, straw arguments, false dichotomies or (pardon the colorful euphamism, but this is following from sfdebris) limp-dick sex references that are only titilating if you're in junior high and still think fart jokes are hilarious.

    All of those things are bad and contribute to this episode's steaming pile of horror...but the ultimate problem with this episode is the setting.

    Risa...a concept that makes no sense...why would an entire planet want to make itself about serving the sexual whims of whoever walks by? Biologically, that's just impractical and unbelievable. We'll come back to that question shortly, but first, I want to address the other problem with Risa, and those goes to the story-telling elements.

    What drama is there to drive a plot on Risa? What's the absolute worst case scenario even if you believed the essentialists were eeeeeeevil. Um...people would have less fun on their vacation and have to leave early? Why the f*** should I care? Why should the RISIANS care...they don't need money from tourists in this utopian order...there's no such thing...their needs are met by replicator and the weather grid will return to normal when the essentialists leave. If you're going for light-and-fluffy...DON'T WRITE A MELODRAMATIC RELATIONSHIP PIECE!!! You can't sell drama in a non-dramatic setting with no JEOPARDY! GAH!!

  2. Anyway...back to Risa's illogical what are we saying here...the Risians have absolutely ZERO standards that determine whether they are attracted to someone or not? They think everyone is sexy? Or are we saying every blasted one of them is forced by their cultural standards to sleep with anyone who asks for it whether they find them attractive or not? Or...when you hold up your hard-on...err...horgon (you know...I just now realized how much of a moron I am...because it took me until now to get that horgon probably came from hard Risian everywhere can see it because there's a tiny camera and the one who actually wants to do the nasty with you comes running? None of those choices make any God damned sense. Hey asshat Star Trek writes...stop trying to change human nature to suit some utopian vision...people are naturally attracted to certain apperances and nothing you can say or do will ever change that...if you accept that, then what the Risians do is basically culturally forced prostitution, whether they consent to it or not. I for one am against forced prostitution. How about you?

    I get that they were trying to envision "" but Vegas exists as a subset of our total cannot extend an entire culture into such extremes and make me believe it.

    As for Worf and Jadzia...not only were their characters slaughtered, but the writers apparently didn't understand the nature of their relationship and why there was actually chemistry there. They work because their differences actually make both of them better people. Worf needs someone to shake up his stagnant, ordered world and Jadzia needs someone to keep her in check...real human relationships are frequently like this. If you're going to play with the idea of power-based role play (with their sex apparently involving S&M on a regular basis), please...take some time to understand BDSM a little. Not that I want to see that kind of thing trumpeted as mainstream and completely innocent, but if you're going to promote a bad message...know what the f*** you're talking about. In this episode, Worf is not seeking to control Jadzia the way a dominant partner does in human relationships...he's whining and hoping she'll change and then he's taking his anger out on everyone else...meanwhile Jadzia is not seeking to be guided the way she does in many of their better episodes in the future...she's not seeking for someone to direct her massive enthusiasm and energy nor does she take pleasure in ruffling up Worf's ordered view of the world...she's just whining and intentionally acting like a bitch and pissing Worf off...that's not how the game is played for them in other episodes and it's not how it works in the real world. It's just nonsense.

    So yes...the message is inane and unfair, the characters are slaughtered, and the dialogue is uninspired...but there's more to hate here. The biology is an illogical trampling of human nature, the plot has no source of dramatic tension and no risk, and the writers have no understanding of real relationships of the type they're trying to build between Worf and Jadzia. There's just NOTHING good about this episode.

  3. You make good points about the silliness of Risa, but I'm not sure it's 100% fair to blame the DS9 writers for a concept that was established on TNG. Just $.02.