(written from a Production point of view)
While Worf, Dax, Bashir, Leeta, and Quark vacation on Risa, Worf decides to join a radical fundamentalist group determined to start a political revolution on Risa.
Odo and Benjamin Sisko are at the station's Replimat, discussing the impending birth of Miles and Keiko O'Brien's second child. Odo says that "Sean," one of their name choices, means "swamp" in Bajoran. Sisko wonders if the O'Briens know this and Odo "nominates" the captain to tell them. Just then, Jadzia Dax comes in nursing a pulled neck muscle, her eighth muscle pull in several weeks and one of many injuries she has sustained since she began seeing Worf. Sisko wishes they could be romantic in a less violent way, but that's unlikely since Dax has managed to talk Worf into going to Risa for their vacation, instead of Earth as they originally planned. Sisko is astonished that Worf agreed to it, and wonders if he's begun to loosen up. But as the Klingon enters and orders his usual prune juice, Dax claims that he's the same old Worf. When he arrives, Worf says he wants to speak alone with Dax, and they begin to mildly argue about her having lunch with Captain Boday, a Gallamite who turns out to be one of Dax' former lovers. Soon after Sisko and Odo leave, Leeta and Dr. Bashir come in to inquire about their trip, asking if they can hitch a ride on the runabout as they seek to have their own romantic leave together. Worf, although not pleased, relents and permits them to come along. In the end, a fifth person joins them on the runabout to Risa, much to Worf's dismay: Quark, who would not give Leeta the time off unless he was permitted to tag along.
On the way to Risa, Leeta insists on serving everybody (except for Quark, her boss) their drinks. Quark is quite impatient, even though it's a relatively short six hour trip, and his attitude almost makes Worf abort the trip altogether. Quark gives everybody but Worf a horga'hn, Risan fertility idols, which are used when achieving jamaharon, before wisely returning to his cabin on the runabout.
Once on Risa, Bashir and Leeta go off on their own as promised, and Quark immediately gets lucky with his horga'hn. Worf did not change out of his uniform, and seems uncomfortable with being on Risa, though Dax does her best to change his mood. She almost succeeds until they are interrupted by Arandis, one of Curzon Dax's old lovers. On his last trip to Risa, Arandis ended up sending the elderly Curzon to his death during jamaharon. Worf is getting more uncomfortable by the minute, near the point of jealousy, and it's beginning to upset Dax greatly. She challenges his assertion that he is not too controlling of her by having a glass of icoberry juice, which they both know she is mildly allergic to. He relents from his jealousy again, and she urges him to put a swimsuit on so they can go swimming.
In his room, Worf encounters Pascal Fullerton – the Chairman of the New Essentialists Movement. These Essentialists are attempting to start a political revolution on Risa. Their aim is to fight against loosening morals in the Federation.
Worf reads a PADD about Fullerton's message and, walking with Dax, he encourages her to read it, though she is intent on vacationing. They find Leeta, who is getting a sensual massage from someone – not Bashir. She invites them to a reyamilk soak. Dax politely declines and leaves, though Worf is stunned about Leeta's behavior. Outside, Worf expresses his disapproval, but Dax says sternly it's not their business. She wants to go see the sights, but Worf intends on attending the Essentialists' event.
At the rally, Dax and Worf see Bashir with another woman – not Leeta – and Worf is upset about that and sees this as affirmation for the thesis of Fullerton. Arandis joins them, seeing Fullerton as entertainment and nothing more. The event is only attended by a few other people. Fullerton explains that morals have become degenerated and amusement has a higher priority than ever before. With threats from the Borg, Romulans, and the Dominion, Federation citizens can't afford this mentality. He concludes with an emphasis for hard work. Worf obviously agrees with what he said, though the others don't.
Later, the group debates the topic. Worf explains the Klingons saw the Federation as weak, inviting attack. Bashir points out none of the debate has anything to do with Risa, but Worf says he can't be certain of that. Dax says everyone needs a vacation, especially those who devote their lives defending the Federation. Just then, Leeta arrives and kisses Bashir. Worf has had it, and confronts them. Leeta and Bashir explain that they came to Risa to break up, through an old Bajoran tradition called the Rite of Separation. They excuse themselves to "work some details out." Dax and Worf continue to debate, but then the group of fundamentalists attack some Risian visitors during dinner, carrying phaser rifles.
When Dax and Worf attempt to fight back, Fullerton calls a stop to the action. It turns out that the phaser cells are empty and Fullerton arranged the event so as to demonstrate how vulnerable the Federation has become. Worf is impressed, though says he can't condone the group's actions. Dax threatens to arrest them under her authority as a Starfleet officer, but Fullerton points out the Risians won't prosecute.
Later, Worf wants to talk to Dax about their relationship. Dax is argumentative as Worf points out he sees her as his Par'Mach'kai, and therefore everything she does reflects on him, including her impulsive nature. Ultimately, he wants to know she takes the relationship as seriously as he does. Dax believes he's taking this to an extreme, telling him he can't control her and should be more relaxed. They both agree, that each won't change who they are.
Dax goes to see the damage the Essentialists have done, and finds Arandis. She takes the incident in stride, joking that Fullerton definitely needs some jamaharon. Dax turns serious and confides about her problems with Worf while helping her clean up.
Meanwhile, Leeta and Bashir complete their separation with a ceremony in which they declare themselves two instead of one. They end with a kiss. Quark, the witness for the ceremony, was expecting more "fireworks", but is instead let down. Interestingly, Leeta says she can now be more honest about her feelings. She then reveals that she has developed feelings for Rom. Both Quark and Bashir are shocked. Quark hands over his horga'hn to Bashir, telling him he needs it more than he does.
Later, Worf walks in on Dax sculpting with Arandis and is jealous. He goes back to his room, breaks a horga'hn by smashing it against a wall, and decides to help Fullerton make his point. He tells the group he knows how to make people leave Risa.
Quark and Bashir listen to Dax vent about what happened. Bashir remarks he may have taken Worf's view if he was there. Furthermore, "figuring" Dax out was what made her so intriguing to him when he first came to Deep Space 9. However, the amount of work it took to get close to her was why he stopped. Dax shrugs this off and expresses why she likes Worf, despite the fact that he is a lot of work. Just then, Arandis enters to say she hasn't found Worf. Soon, they hear lightning and thunder, which should never happen in that part of Risa.
As several of the visitors group under shelter, along with Quark, Bashir, and Arandis, they wonder about what happened when Fullerton, and Worf, and his group enter. Fullerton makes his speech and leaves, but Worf is confronted. Worf stands his ground, saying, as Fullerton did, that Federation citizens must be prepared to resist a Dominion invasion and cannot afford to let themselves go with the illusion of Risa. He doesn't want to argue anymore and leaves.
The rain creates an unpleasant ambiance on Risa because everybody expected sunny weather. Even the Risians are depressed, but Arandis tries to organize an indoor game of hoverball instead. Only Dax will join, and Arandis admits that the guests have been complaining about everything and is dismayed herself. She wonders whether Fullerton was right in that they've forgotten how to deal with adversity.
Fullerton explains his satisfaction to Worf, since guest population is declining and the message is spreading. But when Worf leaves, the fundamentalist confers with his assistant that all the attention will be forgotten when the weather control system restarts. He wants to take things one step further.
Dax confronts Worf about the situation, saying his actions aren't about the Essentialists or the Federation but about them as a couple. Angry that he didn't trust her with Arandis, she asks him why he is so obsessed with controlling everything in his life. Saying there must be something going on, she states Worf sets a great example of Klingon honor, but has none of the Klingon zest for life. Worf tells her that when he was a child he grew up on the sparsely populated farmworld of Gault, and as the biggest, strongest and most fearless boy around he did whatever he wanted with no worries. At the age of thirteen, he captained his school's soccer team and was determined to win, so when he and a boy named Mikel made a play for the mid-air ball he threw himself at his opponent in order to score. He succeeded, but had failed to realize in his excitement that he had accidentally broken his opponent's neck when their heads collided, and the boy died the next day. Worf realized that Humans are extremely fragile and he decided to restrain himself so that no one else suffered; over time his restraint became part of who he is. Worf promises that he will never hurt Dax, a promise she returns but she tells him that he can't control her and asks instead for his trust.
Suddenly the conversation is interrupted by an earthquake. It doesn't take them long to realize that Fullerton has something to do with it. This time he has lost the support of Worf who tells Fullerton that the Federation will persevere against the likes of the Klingons, the Dominion and, most importantly, people like him. Fullerton hits Worf in the face, who responds by sending Fullerton flying over a table.
Later, Quark, Leeta, Dax, and Worf take a stroll on the beach with Arandis. Bashir is not there, having been seen last headed for breakfast with a horga’hn. Weather is finally back to normal although only for their last day of vacation. As Worf and Dax are left alone, Worf allows himself to loosen up a little and try and make the most of the few hours remaining by swimming with Dax – with no bathing suit.
"Isn't there any way for the two of you to… you know…"
"…without injuring yourselves?"
"Interspecies romance isn't without its danger. That's part of the fun."
- - Sisko and Jadzia Dax
"I'm looking forward to spending some time alone with Lieutenant Commander Dax."
"Isn't he sweet?"
- - Worf and Dax
"Do not hug me!"
- - Worf to Bashir
"Tell the Ferengi to return to his cabin!"
- - Worf, to Jadzia regarding Quark on the runabout
"Now, if you don't mind, Risa awaits!"
- - Quark
"I take it the scenery has improved?"
"A few months ago, when I was commanding the Defiant on a scouting mission to the Gamma Quadrant, we encountered a protostar cluster, a swirling mass of color set against a background of glowing clouds and burning sky. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen – until now."
"I've got to take you on vacation more often."
- - Jadzia and Worf, after she removes an outer garment to reveal her swimsuit
"If you want something to eat, you get it from a replicator. If you want amusement, you go to a holosuite. And if you need protection, you call for Starfleet. But someday, someday soon, you're going to have to learn to take care of yourselves. Because if I see you as helpless children, then how do you think the Borg see you? Or the Romulans, or the Cardassians, or the Klingons, or the Dominion? These empires look at the Federation, and they see a prize, a prize that we have forgotten how to protect. And if we don't change our ways, they're going to take it from us."
- - Fullerton
"The way I see it, we've got two options. We can either turn our backs on childish things and re-embrace the hard work that built the Federation in the first place, or we can lie here napping in the sun, until we wake up with Jem'Hadar guns to our heads. The choice is ours. Heaven help us if we make the wrong one."
- - Fullerton
"You think you're safe here in this paradise of yours, but you're not. What if we had been Jem'Hadar or Cardassians or Klingons or Romulans? You'd be dead now. Even you Starfleet officers were lulled into a false sense of security. If you could be taken unaware, what chance do the rest of us have? The sad truth is the galaxy is a hostile place. Forget that, even for a moment, and you risk losing everything. Just something for you to think about while you wait for your desserts."
- - Fullerton
(handing Bashir the Horga'hn) "Here, you need this more than I do."
- - Bashir and Quark
"I've seen drier days on Ferenginar. And we have a hundred seventy-eight different words for rain. Right now it's glebbening out there. And that's bad."
- - Quark
"It's the humidity - it dampens the food, makes everything mushy. Trust me…there's no word for 'crisp' on Ferenginar."
- - Quark
"So what do we do now?"
"Now, we watch the suns set."
"I have a better idea. Why don't we go swimming together?"
"I…didn't bring a bathing suit."
"Well, I won't tell if you won't."
- - Jadzia Dax and Worf
Story and script
- The story for this episode originated in a discussion about Eugene O'Neill's 1947 play A Moon for the Misbegotten. The main theme of the play is the destructiveness of alcohol and sexuality, and the lives of several characters end in tragedy due to their pursuit of drink and sexual satisfaction. At the time it was written and first performed, the play was extremely controversial due to its frank depiction of alcoholic dependence and sexual obsession, and it was this controversy that the producers wished to replicate. According to Ira Steven Behr, "the idea was to do a show that would rattle the audience, that would show sexuality and push the envelope about Risa. Once you get past the titillation, is this a lifestyle that people in the 20th century can approve of?" (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion p.392)
- A number of problems occurred during the filming of "Let He Who Is Without Sin…" at a beach in Malibu, Los Angeles. For example, Terry Farrell cannot be in direct sunlight for very long, which meant that for many of the exteriors, there needed to be shelter nearby. According to director Rene Auberjonois, the producers forgot to organize a tent for Farrell, and Auberjonois himself had to hunt one down and set it up, putting the shoot several hours behind schedule. Another problem involved the extras. During Monte Markham's speech, Auberjonois picked out a small bank for the extras to stand on. However, when they got to the spot, they discovered it was covered in tackburrs, making standing still exceptionally difficult, and prolonging the shoot considerably. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion p.392-393)
- In the scene where Worf walks in on Leeta and her Risian companion in the purple mesh tank top, Leeta was originally naked and in a bath tub. This is evident in the original thirty-second promotional spot, available at startrek.com.
- Masterson commented: "Sometimes fans ask why there was a different scenario, including wardrobe, shown in the massage scene previews of "Let He Who Is Without Sin" than when the episode aired. We originally shot the scene on a closed set, with very little clothing. Then – and I’ll never forget this day – I got called into Rick’s office, and he told me, “We have to reshoot the massage scene because it’s too sexy for Star Trek.” I said, “Wow, thank you! I mean – I’m sorry!” I’m really glad we redid the scene– it’s much more elegantly done than the original". 
- Robert Hewitt Wolfe regards this as his least favorite episode out of all of those that he wrote or co-wrote. Ira Steven Behr has commented that if he had to choose one episode he could go back and refine, it would be this one; "It was supposed to be a show that looked at 24th century morals and sexuality. We pretty much failed on both counts." (AOL chat, 1997)
- Similarly, Ronald D. Moore says "it's a show we all wish we had a second crack at." Director Rene Auberjonois comments "it was not my happiest time as a director." Even Alexander Siddig disliked the episode, particularly his own performance. Nana Visitor had given birth to their son the night before he shot the scene where he and Leeta break up, and according to Siddig, he had never been so unfocused on-set as he was when shooting that scene. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion p.392)
- Ron Moore also commented: "I think everyone looks back at the Risa show and says, 'I wish we could take another crack at that one'. It was supposed to be a fun romp of an episode, but just didn't come through for whatever reason. I still don't think it was a bad idea, but it could have been a really cool, really fun episode. It was a great idea to go to Risa with Worf and Dax. It just didn't quite come together". ("Writing Across the Universe", Star Trek Monthly, issue 29, p.41)
- In the eyes of Robert Hewitt Wolfe and Ira Steven Behr, the main reason the episode failed was because of restrictions placed upon how open they could be about sexuality. This was a show that was supposed to be examining sex, but it wasn't allowed to actually show any sex. As Wolfe explains, "kids watch this show, and in some markets it airs at five o'clock. That meant we couldn't show skin, so there was no sex. It became a totally asexual show, and once that happened the whole thing got flushed down the toilet because none of it made sense anymore." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion p.392)
- Behr elaborated: "Well, the one we never should have done, and the one that Robert Wolfe kept on saying, even as we were doing it, 'Let’s pull the plug on this. This is not going to work', was 'Let He Who Is Without Sin', because by the very nature of the show … and I got to say, Rick Berman, I don’t want to put it all on Rick, but there was no way we were going to do a really sexy show about Risa. It had to be really sexy, and there had to be a real sense of things being done, and people leaving lives, and experiencing pleasures. There was no way. You couldn’t even have sexy bathing suits, really. So why the hell were we doing this dumb show about someone who is upset about Risa when Risa seemed so unassuming and so tame. I mean, as we were writing it, Robert said, 'We should dump it'. I just didn’t have the guts to dump it. I wish I had dumped it. It’s a totally valid episode, but just not for the time". 
- Terry Farrell commented: "Vanessa Williams was a very good guest star. She's the tiniest Human being in the world. We had two days out on the beach in Malibu, which was great. We don't get do that very often on DS9. We also had some incredibly long shooting days. I had a 20-hour day after a 17-hour day, which came after a 15-hour day. I was crying at one point because they told me were going to work that 20-hour day, and I had to be on set for the first scene of the next episode the next day. I was crying and one of our guys went to get me a tissue. He couldn't find me one, so he brought me a towel. Major, major tears right?! It was funny and I just ended up laughing". (The Official Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine issue 18, p. 47)
- Nana Visitor (Kira Nerys), Cirroc Lofton (Jake Sisko), and Colm Meaney (Miles O'Brien) do not appear in this episode. Nana Visitor's absence was due to her giving birth to Django, her son with Alexander Siddig, while the episode was in production. The reason Kira appears in "Trials and Tribble-ations" but not in "The Assignment" or "Let He Who Is Without Sin…" is because "Trials and Tribble-ations" was filmed before "The Assignment", but the two episodes were switched in broadcast schedule.
- Ira Steven Behr also wrote the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Captain's Holiday", where Risa first appeared.
- We learn the circumstances of Curzon's death in this episode.
- This episode is one of very few to tell a story of Worf's childhood. The colony of Gault was first mentioned in TNG: "Heart of Glory".
- Captain Boday is mentioned for the second time in this episode, having previously been referred to in the second season episode "The Maquis, Part II". It was revealed in that episode that he and Dax had had dinner together several times.
- This episode is featured in the "Star Trek's Beautiful Alien Women" documentary of the Star Trek: Insurrection Special Edition DVD. Terry Farrell talks about working with Vanessa Williams and Chase Masterson about the scene with the Risian male.
- Quark references the rainy climate of Ferenginar, which had been seen previously in "Family Business".
- If you look closely at Dax's swimsuit you can see the Speedo logo on her right hip. It could be that Speedo is still making swimwear in the 24th century.
- Bashir says to Worf "When in Rome", which is the second time a character has said that to Worf. The first time was in TNG: "Justice", where Riker said it to him while the USS Enterprise-D was visiting Rubicun III, also a paradise-like planet with loose sexual morals.
- The scene with Quark and the Risian females mirrors a scene in TOS: "Shore Leave" with Doctor McCoy and several imaginary women.
- The title is a Biblical allusion, rendered in the King James Version as "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her."
Video and DVD releases
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 5.4, 10 March 1997
- As part of the DS9 Season 5 DVD collection
Links and references
- Rene Auberjonois as Odo
- Michael Dorn as Lt. Commander Worf
- Terry Farrell as Lt. Commander Dax
- Cirroc Lofton as Jake Sisko
- Armin Shimerman as Quark
- Alexander Siddig as Doctor Bashir
Special appearance by
- John Bucaro as Fullerton's Essentialist
- Ramona Case as Fullerton's Essentialist
- Jennifer Frey as Fullerton's Essentialist
- Charles Harris as Fullerton's Essentialist
- Karl Moseman as Risian man
- Jim Portnoy as as Fullerton's Essentialist
- Martin Squires as Risian masseur
- Scott St. Balazo as Fullerton's Essentialist
- Mark Allen Shepherd as Morn
- Unknown performers as
academic; accusation; amusement; anger; Bajoran language; bathing suit; beach; berserker cat; "black cloud"; Boday; Bolian; Borg; captain (sports); Cardassian; chief facilitator; children; clay; Constable; cot; courage; Dax, Curzon; Danube-class; Dominion; Earth; empire; farmworld; Federation; Ferengi; Ferengi language; Ferenginar; fertility symbol; floater; gallamite; Gamma Quadrant; Gault; glebbening; heart; holosuite; Hoobishan Baths; horga'hn; hotel; hot spring; hoverball; icoberry juice; industrial replicator; itch; interspecies romance; jamaharon; Jem'Hadar; Kahless the Unforgettable; Klingons; Klingon Empire; Klingon High Council; Kressari; lagoon; "make love"; middle-aged; Mikel; Milky Way Galaxy; monastery; napping; New Essentialists Movement; Pakled; path; plot; poet; pleasure planet; promotion; Prophet; protostar; prune juice; Quark's; rain; raktajino; rally; replicator; reyamilk soak; rib; Risa; Risian; Risian bird; Risian white bird; Rite of Separation; Rom; Rome; Romulans; Romulan Star Empire; Rozhenko, Helena; Rozhenko, Sergey; runabout; scouting mission; Sean; seismic regulator; sexy; skinny dipping; snail juice; soccer; solarium; sonic masseur; spaceport; Starfleet; swamp; sweat; swimming; Tarkalean tea; Temtibi Lagoon; Three Turn Bridge; tricorder; uplink; waste disposal unit; weather control system; weather cycle; weather grid; witness
- "Let He Who Is Without Sin..." at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "Let He Who Is Without Sin..." at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Let He Who Is Without Sin..." at Wikipedia
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