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Star Trek DS9 - Season 4 - Episode 18

Star Trek DS9 - 4x18 - Rules of Engagement

Originally Aired: 1996-4-8

Worf faces a hearing to determine whether he should be extradited to the Klingon Empire for destroying a civilian ship ... [DVD]

My Rating - 7

Fan Rating Average - 6.83

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 5 5 2 3 4 15 10 14 28 21 16

Filler Quotient: 2, filler, but an enjoyable episode nevertheless. You can skip this one, but you'd miss out on some fun.
- There's no essential plot or exposition in this episode that renders it unskippable, but it's a decent episode, even though it could have been better.

- Worf's sash seems to appear and disappear throughout this episode.
- Worf orders quantum torpedos fired in this episode during O'Brien's flashback. When we see the graphic of the ship firing, photon torpedos are fired.

- This episode establishes that O'Brien has been in Starfleet 22 years. He has been in 235 separate combat situations. He has been decorated 15 times by Starfleet.

Remarkable Scenes
- The arrogance of the Klingon advocate in the beginning.
- The flashback testimony. I liked Quark's. :)
- O'Brien's flashback, detailing the battle.
- Ch'Pok, regarding switching sides to defend Worf should he be extradited: "What matters to me is the thrill of the fight. Not which side I'm on."
- The Klingon lawyer provoking Worf.
- Sisko cross examining the Klingon lawyer.
- Sisko chewing out Worf in the end for making poor command decisions. :)
- Worf: "Life is a lot more complicated in this red uniform."
- Morn Appearances; 1. In Quark's much revised flashback.

My Review
This episode is remarkable in that the Klingon prosecutor is a fantastic guest star. Only a Klingon lawyer would thirst for battle... in the courtroom! The directing is also remarkably interesting. Such as Dax describing Worf's demeanor whilst in a flashback fighting him. And Sisko explaining why he selected Worf for this mission whilst in a flashback. Quark gets a similar scene, but he can't get it right. ;) O'Brien gets one too, set during the battle. Worf as well. One problem with the episode though is the seeming hypocrisy of the Klingon prosecutor's entire argument. Klingon history honors conquerors who murder civilians, yet it is illegal for Worf to murder them now? What's the bloody difference? Well, Klingons are very... odd. And the Federation has to respect their... odd laws. I'm not willing to mark this is a technical problem because of this, but it walks the line. The ending is superb, Sisko's last minute new evidence was fantastically presented, leaving us with an original question... why was Sisko defending Worf in the first place? Why, he even chewed Worf out for his decision in the end! Sisko defended him blindly. Awesome. :)

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From RichD on 2006-06-13 at 7:41pm:
    Fantastic episode. The Klingon advocate was incredible. He very nearly won the case. The way the plot unfolded was quite extraoridinary. I would have never guessed that the Klingons were trying to lure the Federation into giving up Worf while at the same time, keep them from escorting medical convoys. The plan was very romulanesque. I guess that's my only knock. It was unbecoming of the Klingons to behanve in this manner. Being underhanded. We learn later however, the Klingons were not acting on their own valition. The Quark scene was great. That guy kills me. Finally, I just love the way Sisko both lectured and scolded Work while patting him on the shoulder all at once. The mark of a great leader. Something my ol' high school basketball coach use to do. Tear us down, and build us up. I enjoyed this episode.
  • From Dave on 2009-05-14 at 5:11am:
    I also love the Klingon lawyer - the actor's guest starred in a few episodes (TNG and Voyager if memory serves). Fine tradition of aggressive Klingon lawyering in Trek - always good to see. And at least Worf wasn't threatened with a spell on Rura Pente :-)
    One thing - why would Chief O'Brien say he would have taken command if Worf had been injured in the battle. Surely Major Kira would have been the ranking officer?
  • From onlinebroker on 2009-11-05 at 1:40pm:
    I don't like this episode at all and gave it a 2. First of all I find the whole premise doesn't make alot of sense, why would klingons complain about bloodshed, why did the advocate call Worf a coward for killing people, and in the same sentence call the guy who exterminated a whole city a hero.
    Then Sisko was unbearable in this episode. He talks as if this was some sort of poetry contest, makes me really miss Picard.
  • From rpeh on 2010-07-31 at 9:45am:
    A brilliant episode; gripping and suspenseful. The Klingon advocate in particular was superb - I loved the bit when he told Sisko he would defend Worf himself in any subsequent trial.

    Just one problem. He asks Worf "Did you weep...", but we know from The Undiscovered Country that Klingons have no tear ducts. It seems unlikely that the advocate would use a human expression in this situation.
  • From Bronn on 2011-11-13 at 12:59pm:
    "Klingon history honors conquerors who murder civilians, yet it is illegal for Worf to murder them now? What's the bloody difference? Well, Klingons are very... odd."

    That's hardly hypocrisy at all. Think about all the reverence we today might hold for Alexander the Great. Or better yet, Julius Caesar. Caesar's conquest of Gaul involved the burning of hundreds of villages, killing perhaps hundreds of thousdands. In his most famous battle, he refused to allow starving civilians-women, children-to be evacuated from Alesia because he wanted to stretch the Gaul's food supply. He is certainly revered, still today.

    "Ah," you might say, "but we don't pretend to be him, running around and killing women." If you think of Holodeck programs, though, as just an evolution in video gaming technology...Worf was just playing "Klingons: Total War." There's plenty of people who enjoy games like Grand Theft Auto who still believe in the wrongness of senseless violence.
  • From Martin on 2014-04-03 at 12:15am:
    Good episode.
    One problem though...why does sisko have only 3 dots in his uniform during the trial?
  • From AW on 2015-12-17 at 12:57am:
    This is one of the only times I have seen a deus ex machina ending done in a way that was satisfying and didn't come off as a cop out.

    I guess it really wasn't a deus ex machina because now that I think about it that awkward bit of dialog (right before the brilliant "the truth must be won" line) where the advocate reveals an ulterior motive makes sense. However, I doubt the advocate would have revealed that bit of information. Unless he didn't know about the ruse. Yeah that is more like it. In fact that explains why he would contradict himself as other commenters pointed out. The Klingon were using an uncharacteristic (non-battle) strategy to accomplish 2 the two different goals.

    Excellent complex episode. Best so far in my opinion.

    [Ha, I just realized I wrote that comment like I was having a conversation with myself]
  • From Armsauce on 2018-07-12 at 9:58pm:
    Some great acting from Avery Brooks in this one as well, especially at the end with Worf.
  • From Gaius Gracchus on 2021-10-05 at 6:48pm:
    I had to look up who directed this episode. LeVar Burton! Impressive work. Loved the cuts between the courtroom and the scenes presented by the witnesses.

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